Healthy people, families, and communities.



We will be Closed Memorial Day


All District and County Public Health Facilities in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens, and Whitfield Counties will be CLOSED on Monday, May 30th in observance of Memorial Day. Also, MAKO Medical COVID-19 Drive-thru Testing will be closed in Dalton but open in Woodstock. Remember and Honor.

Closed due to weather banner
North GA - 
Due to the potential for severe weather, the MAKO Medical COVID-19 Drive-thru Test sites in Dalton and Woodstock will be closed all day Thursday, May 26, 2022.
All updates for the drive-thru test sites are posted here on the health district website and on our social media pages at Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Damaris Landaverde RN presented with Maggie Kline Nursing AwardDamaris Landaverde, RN, was presented with the Maggie Kline Nursing Award by Dr. Chris Rustin, DPH Acting Deputy Commissioner, at GPHA’s 92nd annual conference.Jasper, GA – Damaris Landaverde, RN, public health nurse for the Pickens County Health Department, was presented with the Maggie Kline Nursing Award by the Georgia Public Health Association (GPHA) at their annual conference held recently at Jekyll Island.

The award honors Maggie Kline who for years coordinated the continuing education program for public health nurses in Georgia.

GPHA annually presents the award to recognize a new public health nurse or a public health nurse specialist who exceptionally fulfills the nursing role in service delivery to public health clients and families.

The Pickens County Health Department and North Georgia Health District are proud to affirm that Damaris is a truly deserving recipient of this year’s award and congratulate her for this honor.

The GPHA award biography that was included in the Maggie Kline Nursing Award presentation stated:

Damaris Landaverde began her nursing career in August 2021 at the Pickens County Health Department shortly after completing Nursing School. Prior to attending nursing school, Damaris worked within the WIC program for Public Health.

Damaris is a new nurse with the drive and desire to become a well-trained Public Health Nurse and if the first 6 months of her nursing career is any indication as to what she will be able to accomplish over the years to come, Public Health will be blessed to have her as part of the Public Health Nursing Section.

Dr Elam poses with AwardDr. Elam poses with his District 1-2 TB Team, Tammy Bowling, Public Health Nurse Consultant, and Irma Sandoval, Infectious Disease Admin. AssistantDalton, GA – The North Georgia Health District congratulates Dr. Mark Elam for receiving the Sellers-McCroan Award this year at the Georgia Public Health Association (GPHA) Conference, held earlier in May at Jekyll Island.

GPHA presents the Sellers-McCroan Award annually to a nominated public health professional who deserves recognition and encouragement for outstanding achievement and service to Georgians in epidemiology and/or laboratory services.

Dr. Elam is certainly deserving of this award in full measure as he compassionately serves the people of north Georgia.

The following is the GPHA award biography that was included in the Sellers-McCroan Award presentation:

Dr. Mark Elam is a well-known name in Public Health in the North and Northeast Georgia Health Districts due to his 26 years of dedicated public health service along with his leadership roles in multiple health care facilities and his inspiring passion for serving the community.

Dr. Elam is a 1986 graduate of the University of Tennessee Medical School and he completed his residency in Internal Medicine at the Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Washington in 1989. He served in the U.S. Army from 1982-1993 and was discharged with the rank of Major. Dr. Elam worked for seven years in private practice during which time he began volunteering for the Medical Access Clinic at the Whitfield County Health Department. While providing primary care for low-income adults in this clinic, Dr. Elam found his calling to public health.

In 2002, Dr. Elam assDr_Elam_Award_close_shot.pngGPHA Sellers-McCroan Award Presented to Dr. Elamumed the role as Medical Director for both the Medical Access Clinic at the health department and for the District 1-2 HIV Living Bridge Clinic. From there, he added the duties of District 1-2 Tuberculosis Program Medical Consultant in 2008 and Medical Director for the District 1-1 HIV Clinic and District 1-2 Travel Clinic Medical Consultant in 2014.

Over the years, Dr. Elam has served as the President of Georgia Medical Directors (2004-2006), Chairman of the NW Georgia Healthcare Partnership (2006-2008), Board Member of Hamilton Health Care Systems (2001-2007) and Medical Director of multiple nursing homes and hospice facilities (2004-2021). In July 2019, Dr. Elam was appointed as a Clinical Assistant Professor for the Medical College of Georgia, training upcoming physicians at Hamilton Medical Center.

Dr. Elam has been married to his lovely wife, Ellen, for 38 years and has two daughters and two grandchildren. In his spare time, Dr. Elam enjoys traveling, running, cheering on the UT Vols and spending time with his family and friends.

Free at home COVID 19 tests from COVID.govNorth Georgia – Testing for COVID-19 is still critical to continue reducing the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, and now those tests are even more readily available.

Free COVID-19 At-Home Test Kits are provided by the federal government in partnership with the United States Postal Service (USPS). Every household in the U.S. is eligible to order the free COVID-19 home tests and have them delivered straight to their door.

To order, go to If help is needed with placing an order, call 1-800-232-0233 to be assisted in either English or Spanish. Anyone with a hearing impairment who needs assistance may use TTY 1-888-720-7489.

Here is what to expect after placing an order:

  • Each order currently includes 8 rapid antigen COVID-19 tests
  • An order of 8 tests will come in 2 separate packages (4 tests in each package), each with its own tracking number
  • Packages will ship free

Here are reasons to test for COVID-19:

  • If experiencing COVID-19 symptoms
  • It is at least 5 days after a known or suspected close contact to COVID-19
  • For screening (schools, workplaces, congregate settings, etc.)
  • To protect before and after travel
  • When asked by a healthcare professional or public health official to do so

Go to to order the free COVID-19 At-Home Test Kits without delay.

COVID 19 Testing web

MAKO will continue operating at Dalton drive-thru site 

North GA – MAKO Medical drive-thru COVID-19 testing will close in Woodstock after operations on Friday, June 3rd at the JJ Biello Park Riverside Athletic Complex. The address is 610 Druw Cameron Court, Woodstock, GA 30188 and the site is currently operating Monday - Friday, 8 AM - 3 PM.

COVID-19 cases have decreased in Georgia and home test kits are easily available, causing the numbers of residents seeking services from the test sites to dwindle drastically.

Public health officials continue to urge people to get tested for COVID-19, regardless of their vaccination status, if they have COVID-19 type symptoms or have been in recent close contact to a person infected with the virus.

The MAKO test site that will remain open in North Georgia is at Pleasant Grove Park in Dalton. Please note the address and hours of operation:

Pleasant Grove Park
1732 Pleasant Grove Drive, N.E., Dalton, GA 30721
Monday – Friday: 8 AM – 3 PM

COVID-19 testing is free at this site and there are no eligibility requirements other than having a Georgia address and registering at This is PCR testing done by a mid-nasal swab to determine the presence of the virus that causes COVID-19. It is not an antigen or antibody test.

DPH News Release banner
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                               
May 17, 2022
DPH Urges Parents to Talk to Their Pediatricians for
Guidance During Baby Formula Shortage  
Atlanta – The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is urging parents unable to find baby formula typically used for their child to contact their pediatrician about appropriate nutritional and safe feeding alternatives. Georgia WIC is working with WIC agencies statewide, local grocers and retailers, and formula manufacturers to help locate formula for clients, especially those in need of specialized formula.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is offering guidance for parents that are having difficulty finding baby formula: 
  • Watering down baby formula is dangerous and can cause nutritional imbalances that may lead to serious health problems. Always mix formula as directed by the manufacturer.
  • Homemade baby formulas are not advised. While recipes may seem healthy, they are not safe and do not meet your baby’s nutritional needs.
  • Buy baby formula online but only from well-recognized distributors and pharmacies. 
  • Be leery of ads on social media. You can check out a company’s reputation through the Better Business Bureau (BBB) at
  • Do not use imported formulas from other countries that are not reviewed by the FDA.
  • Only prepare the amount of formula you will use - throw out any infant formula that is left in the bottle after feeding your baby.
  • It is recommended that during the shortage you buy no more than a 10-day to two-week supply of formula.
For a complete list of AAP guidance and tips for finding formula during the shortage, visit Parents should not hesitate to talk to their pediatrician with any concerns about their baby's health and nutrition.
WIC clients who need help finding formula or who have questions should contact their local WIC office or call 1-800-228-9173.
Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr is warning Georgia consumers to beware of price gouging and other scams in response to the nationwide baby formula shortage. Consumers can report scams and suspected price gouging to the Consumer Protection Division (CPD) by calling 404-651-8600 or 1-800-869-1123. Georgians can also file a complaint online by visiting CPD’s website.
DPH will continue to monitor all information coming from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and formula manufacturers regarding the shortage and work to ensure Georgia babies have access to food and nutrition they need to grow healthy and strong.
Nancy Nydam
Director of Communications
Georgia Department of Public Health
2 Peachtree Street, N.E., 15th Floor
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
(404) 657-2462
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

New GA Lead Law for ChildrenAtlanta – There is no safe amount of lead in a child’s blood. Even small amounts of lead can result in damage to the brain and nervous system, cause behavioral problems, learning difficulties and other medical issues – all of which may be permanent. However, legislation passed by the General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Kemp, bolsters protection for Georgia children who may be exposed to lead.

The amount of lead in blood is referred to as the blood lead level, which is measured in micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood (μg/dL). The new Georgia legislation lowers the threshold for confirmed lead poisoning from 20 to 3.5 micrograms of lead per deciliter. The level is now consistent with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“DPH is extremely grateful to the members of the General Assembly and the Governor for their decisive action which allows for a more robust program for identifying and preventing cases of lead poisoning, and protecting the children of Georgia,” said Kathleen E. Toomey, M.D., M.P.H., commissioner, Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH).

Those most at risk include children under six years of age, children living at or below the federal poverty level, pregnant women, and those who live in older housing. Often, there are no obvious symptoms of lead exposure.

A simple blood test can detect lead poisoning. A small amount of blood is taken from a finger or heel prick or from a vein in the arm. Based on your child’s blood lead test results, healthcare providers can recommend follow-up actions and care. DPH strongly urges parents to have their children tested for lead.

Lead can be found in many places in a child’s environment, but lead exposure is preventable. The key is stopping children from coming into contact with lead.

Para la traducción al Español de esta información, haga clic en la opción en Español en la parte superior de esta página. 


GA T 21 SignRetail Signage in English & Spanish: Click to download and print to clearly display at tobacco products point(s) of sale.The North Georgia Health District wants you to be aware of the Tobacco 21 Law and what we all must do to comply with that law. Here, we are providing you with the information you need to comply with the law and with beneficial resources.
The Georgia Senate Bill 375 - Tobacco 21 Law: What You Need to Know: This is a comprehensive guide that provides retailers with information on the law, exemptions, definitions of tobacco products, age verification, signage, penalties, enforcement, and resources. The Chronic Disease Prevention Managers can provide this guide to the retailers.

What is Senate Bill 375 (Tobacco 21 or T21)? As of July 22, 2020, the sell or barter, directly or indirectly, any cigarettes, tobacco products, tobacco related objects, alternative nicotine products, or vapor products to anyone under the age of 21 years is illegal in Georgia.

What are retailers required to do? Retailers are responsible for upholding the law. Compliance checks are conducted and enforced on a continuous basis to ensure retailers are following federal and state Tobacco 21 laws that prohibit the sale of all tobacco products. Failure to comply with the Tobacco 21 law will result in a misdemeanor.

  • Retailer must display Tobacco 21 signage in clearly visible locations
  • Use a state-issued driver’s license, military ID, and passport to verify individuals’ age
  • Train all staff on the following steps for every tobacco sale
    • Ask for valid ID from everyone attempting to purchase tobacco products
    • Check ID to make sure everyone is 21 years and older
    • Refuse to sell tobacco products to everyone under 21

Why public health needs retailers help? There has been an alarming increase in the use of tobacco products, e-cigarettes and flavored delivery systems among youth and young adults in our community. Almost 1 of every 5 high school students in Georgia are current tobacco users of cigarettes, hookah, cigars, smokeless tobacco, or electronic cigarettes (Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 2019). As a licensed tobacco retailer, you play an important role ensuring the success of reducing access and use of tobacco products by complying with the Tobacco 21 law.

What are free resources for quitting tobacco? Georgia residents 13 years and older who want to quit smoking, vaping, or using tobacco, can call the Georgia Tobacco Quit Line.

  • 1-877-270-7867 (English)
  • 1-877-266-3863 (Spanish)
  • 1-877-777-6534 (Hearing Impaired)
  • Youth and young adults can enroll in This is Quitting by texting VAPEFREEGA to 88709 to quit

Let’s work together to keep our youth and young adults tobacco-free!

Closed due to weather banner
North GA - 
Due to the potential for severe weather, the MAKO Medical COVID-19 Drive-thru Test sites in Dalton and Woodstock are CLOSED all day Friday, May 6, 2022.
All updates for the drive-thru test sites are posted here on the health district website and on our social media pages at Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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