Healthy people, families, and communities.


Our District Office and County Health Departments and Services are Closed Monday, January 3, 2022.  The COVID-19 Testing Site in Whitfield County is Open Friday, Dec. 31st... All Others are Closed. All COVID-19 Testing Sites are Back to Normal Hours week of Monday, January 3, 2022. Happy New Year!
*Please note that Drive-thru PCR COVID-19 Testing in the North Georgia Health District is not operated by our county health departments but by MAKO Medical Services.
New Years Closing 2022

MAKO COVID 19 Testing Moving from Canton to Woodstock Jan 3rdWoodstock, GA – To facilitate increasing numbers of residents seeking COVID-19 testing in Cherokee County, MAKO Medical will move their drive-thru COVID-19 testing site at Action Church in Canton to JJ Biello Park in Woodstock. The new address is JJ Biello Park, Riverside Athletic Complex, 610 Druw Cameron Court, Woodstock, GA 30188. The final day for testing at Action Church is Thursday, December 30th. Testing will begin at JJ Biello Park on Monday, January 3, 2022. MAKO Medical will continue to provide free drive-thru COVID-19 PCR testing at the new site, and the hours will remain Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 3 PM. 

PCR testing is done by nasal swab to determine the presence of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Anyone who has COVID-19 type symptoms or has been in close contact recently with a person infected with the virus needs to be tested for COVID-19, even if they are fully vaccinated. There are no eligibility requirements other than having a Georgia address and registering online at

COVID 19 TESTING Dont Go To The Emergency Room
Per the following message from the Georgia Department of Public Health, please note that public health sponsors Free PCR COVID-19 Testing at Drive-thru MAKO Medical sites throughtout the North Georgia Health District, which includes Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield counties. Please go HERE to learn more and to register. -- North Georgia Health District
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                                   
December 29, 2021
Atlanta – To help keep hospital emergency departments open to treat medical emergencies, individuals seeking COVID testing should not go to hospital emergency departments, unless they are experiencing severe COVID-19 symptoms requiring urgent medical attention. Asymptomatic individuals or individuals with mild symptoms should find testing sites other than hospital emergency departments.

COVID-19 testing locations are available throughout Georgia and can be found on the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) website at We are working with our lab partners to expand testing hours and add testing sites, however, lines will continue to be long as thousands of Georgians want to get tested.

To help alleviate delays at testing sites, it is critical that people register BEFORE going to a DPH test site. Online registration ( will help alleviate back-ups at test sites and free up staff to do more testing if they aren’t doing registration paperwork. 

COVID vaccination is available statewide and is our best tool for ending this pandemic and reducing the overwhelming strain on the healthcare system and healthcare providers. To find a COVID vaccination location, visit Georgians aged 5 and older are eligible for vaccination. Georgians 16 and older are eligible for boosters six months after completing their primary vaccine series of either Moderna or Pfizer (only Pfizer is authorized for booster doses in 16- and 17- year-olds) and two months after their J&J vaccine.

COVID 19 Protection for North Georgians Web Banner

North Georgia – Positive COVID-19 test results have increased in North Georgia. The CDC has provided Omicron variant projections, but it will be a while before we have verification of the Omicron data for this area; and, as always, other related data will follow. 

Health officials urge residents to make the right choices to protect themselves and their loved ones against COVID-19 and all variants. Get vaccinated, along with a booster shot. Wear a mask in public indoor spaces and with people who don’t live with you. Get tested for COVID-19 if symptomatic and before traveling or attending a social gathering. 

Dr. Zachary Taylor, Interim Director of the North Georgia Health District, said, "We've been urging everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated as soon as possible, and we need those who are ready for their booster dose of the Pfizer, Moderna or Janssen vaccine to get that dose immediately, as well. The message is more important now than ever. People who get the booster are much less likely to become seriously ill or hospitalized.” 

The CDC confirms that COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and death. 

Vaccination is still the key protection against COVID-19 and all variants of the virus. A timely booster dose maximizes protection against both infection and serious illness.

Dec. 21, 2021

Omicron Spread and Prevention Measures for Holiday Gatherings

Atlanta – The Georgia Department of Public Health is urging Georgians to carefully follow COVID-19 prevention measures during holiday celebrations and gatherings to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

COVID case numbers are increasing daily, and the Omicron variant is spreading faster than any previous variant.

Surveillance for COVID variants is done through genomic sequencing of PCR positive test results. In Georgia, the most recent genomic sequencing is from week ending Dec. 4, and at that time, the Delta variant was responsible for 98% of new COVID cases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) uses genomic sequencing data to project current variant proportions and now estimates Omicron accounts for more than 73% of new COVID cases in the United States. Given the rapid transmissibility of the Omicron variant, the current proportion of Omicron in Georgia is likely similar to that of the national estimate, and presumably will account for all new COVID cases in the state in the coming weeks.

Please note our holiday closings, and have a Happy Holiday!

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Please note this list of dates and times when our County Health Departments will briefly close for staff meetings. Thank you!

Brief Closing Times at Health Depts

CDC 16 to 17 year olds get boosters
Per the attached press announcement from the FDA, the listed CDC online guidance link, and the following statement from CDC Director Dr. Walensky, please note that booster shots to everyone 16 and older who has reached the recommended time since completing their primary series are available on a no-appointment-needed basis during clinic hours at our County Health Departments in the North Georgia Health District - click to our homepage to find clinic hours and locations for the health departments in our six counties.
Media Statement

For Immediate Release: Thursday, December 09, 2021
Contact: Media Relations
(404) 639-3286

Download this pdf file. FDA News Release expanded booster approval.pdf

Download this pdf file. CDC Website: COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shots

The following is attributable to CDC Director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky

“Today, CDC is strengthening its booster recommendations and encouraging everyone 16 and older to receive a booster shot. Although we don’t have all the answers on the Omicron variant, initial data suggests that COVID-19 boosters help broaden and strengthen the protection against Omicron and other variants. We know that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, and I strongly encourage adolescents ages 16 and 17 to get their booster if they are at least 6 months post their initial Pfizer vaccination series.”

At this time, only the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is authorized and recommended for adolescents aged 16 and 17. More information will be available on CDC’s website soon.


CDC works 24/7 protecting America’s health, safety and security. Whether disease start at home or abroad, are curable or preventable, chronic or acute, or from human activity or deliberate attack, CDC responds to America’s most pressing health threats. CDC is headquartered in Atlanta and has experts located throughout the United States and the world.

A pile of colorful plastic jewelryProtect children from exposure to lead in metal and plastic toys, especially some imported toys, antique toys, and toy jewelry. Childhood lead exposure is preventable.

Many children get toys and toy jewelry as gifts during the holiday season. Some toys, especially some imported toys, antique toys, and toy jewelry may contain lead. Although lead is invisible to the naked eye and has no smell, exposure to lead can seriously harm a child’s health. Young children tend to put their hands, toys, or other objects―which may be made of lead or contaminated with lead or lead dust―into their mouths. If you have a small child in your household, make sure the child does not have access to toys, jewelry, or other items that may contain lead.

Lead in Toys

Lead may be found in the paint, metal, and plastic parts of some toys and toy jewelry, particularly those made in other countries, and also antique toys and collectibles.

  • In 2008, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) pdf icon[PDF – 118 KB]external icon was signed into law, requiring toys and infant products to be tested to mandatory standards before being sold.
  • The use of lead in plastics has not been banned. Lead softens plastic, making a toy more flexible to return to its original shape. Lead may also be used in plastic toys to stabilize molecules from heat.
  • Lead dust can form on toys when some plastics are exposed to sunlight, air, and detergents that break down the chemical bond between the lead and plastics.
  • Lead also may be combined with other metals, such as tin, to create alloys that are used to make toys.

To reduce children’s risk for lead exposure, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) tests and issues recalls of current products that may potentially expose children to lead. Check the CPSC websiteexternal icon or call 1 (800) 638-2272 to be sure your child’s toys are safe. You can find photos and descriptions of currently recalled toys on that website. For additional information on lead in toys, visit the CDC Lead website.

Omicron Variant web banner

North Georgia Health District officials continue to urge all residents age 5 and older to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19, including the primary series and boosters (for people 18+); to get tested if experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19; and, to follow the CDC recommendations, as mentioned in the (DPH) press release. COVID-19 vaccine is available with no need for an appointment during clinic hours at our health departments in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield counties, and free COVID-19 testing (PCR) is available in our health district through MAKO Medical. Please find on our website details for COVID-19 vaccine and testing offered by public health in North Georgia or go to to find all locations where the vaccine and testing are available in Georgia.

Please note in the following NEW update from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) that the Omicron variant has now been confirmed in an unvaccinated metro Atlanta resident with no recent international travel history. This is the 3rd confirmed case in a Georgia resident. Please see the full DPH press release by clicking on this pdf link just below:
December 9, 2021

Atlanta – The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) has confirmed the Omicron variant in an unvaccinated metro Atlanta resident with no recent international travel history. The individual has mild COVID symptoms and is isolating at home. Contact tracing is underway to identify close contacts at risk of COVID-19 infection.

Previously, two cases of the Omicron variant were confirmed in metro Atlanta residents. One of those individuals was tested in New Jersey and is recovering there.

The omicron variant has now been detected in patients in at least 21 U.S. states and in dozens of countries around the world. Preliminary data show that Omicron may cause less severe illness but may spread more easily than the Delta variant. Scientists are still researching how well the current COVID vaccines or natural immunity hold up against Omicron, and caution that it is too early to make conclusions about Omicron because there is not enough data available.

Winter Weather Preparedness Week web

Winter Weather Preparedness Week

In conjunction with the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency, and along with many of our core partners, December 6-10 is recognized as Winter Weather Preparedness Week this year in Georgia. 

Each day will be focused on a specific winter weather-related topic:

WWPWMonday, Dec. 6: Winter Weather in Georgia   -- learn about various winter weather hazards that can impact the state of Georgia

Winter storms, which often affect North Georgia, result in extreme cold, downed power lines and blocked roads and highways.

Prepare for the Winter with such items as:
  • Extra blankets, sleeping bags and warm winter coats.
  • Fireplace or wood-burning stove with plenty of dry firewood, or a gas log fireplace.
  • Kerosene heater, with proper ventilation.

WAD Rock the Ribbon T Shirt Reminder web

 North Georgia Health District Staff showed Support to Those Living with HIV on World AIDS Day!

See our album below that shows how North Georgia Health District Rocked the Ribbon today for World AIDS Day to show our support for those living with HIV and in memory of those who have died due to the virus.

Plus, FREE HIV testing was offered on World AIDS Day at all public health departments in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield counties and at The Living Bridge Center locations in Dalton and Canton. Free testing continues at all locations.

You, too, can remember those who have lost their lives to HIV... do your part to reduce stigma, learn more about HIV prevention strategies, walk or run a 5K, plant a tree, make a donation, and share your plans and pictures on social media using hashtag #TLBCWAD2021 or #TLBCRockTheRibbon.

Go here on our website for more information at

To order a free HIV self-test kit, go to and click on the red triangle.

Let’s keep on Rocking the Ribbon!

CDC Banner




Per the following CDC press release dated Wednesday, December 1, 2021, please know that although no cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant have been reported yet in Georgia, the North Georgia Health District is:

  • Continuing to urge residents ages 5 and up to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19, including 3rd shots and boosters – COVID-19 vaccine is available for free and without need of an appointment at all our health departments during clinic hours in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield counties - please click HERE for details.
  • Encouraging COVID-19 testing for anyone who has any symptoms or believes they may have been exposed to the virus. MAKO Medical Services has collaborated with public health to operate Free COVID-19 PCR Testing in all our counties - please click HERE.
  • Reminding residents to continue following the CDC recommendations to protect against the spread of COVID-19, including social distancing and wearing a mask in public, as appropriate - please link HERE to the CDC website

Media Statement

For Immediate Release
Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Contact: CDC Media Relations (404) 639-3286

First confirmed case of Omicron variant detected in the United States

The California and San Francisco Departments of Public Health have confirmed that a recent case of COVID-19 among an individual in California was caused by the Omicron variant (B.1.1.529). The individual was a traveler who returned from South Africa on November 22, 2021. The individual, who was fully vaccinated and had mild symptoms that are improving, is self-quarantining and has been since testing positive. All close contacts have been contacted and have tested negative.

Genomic sequencing was conducted at the University of California, San Francisco and the sequence was confirmed at CDC as being consistent with the Omicron variant. This will be the first confirmed case of COVID-19 caused by the Omicron variant detected in the United States.