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Chatham Co. health officials giving advice as cases of COVID-19 Delta variant increase

Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 4:45 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - With the Delta COVID-19 variant being much more contagious, it has several people who are fully vaccinated concerned.

Dr. Lawton Davis director of the Coastal Health District has a simple message for the 59% of people in Chatham County who are not fully vaccinated..

“A get a vaccination. B beware that this delta variant is in our area, it’s in Georgia, it’s in the Coastal Health District, it is more transmissible than the other variants we have seen and I think that’s what’s driving our increase in new cases and we’ve had a huge increase in cases,” said Dr. Lawton Davis, Director of the Coastal Health District.

The community transmission index has been climbing steadily for the past 10 days and since Friday increased by 13 percent. It’s because of this Dr. Davis said he has talked with city and county leaders about public health guidance.

“I personally am still wearing my mask,” he said. “That would be my message is to use common sense. If you are going to be indoors around a lot of people, especially for a long time breathing community air even though you’re vaccinated, the mask is not going to hurt you and it will afford even more protection.”

While the demand for COVID-19 testing has dramatically decreased since the beginning of the pandemic it is still available and free. Officials say they are starting to see a slight increase in the number of those getting tested.

“We have a four person team here and it hasn’t been any issues for us.”

Mako Medical runs the testing at the Civic Center and saw more people get tested last week than they have since May. Staff say they are prepared to handle an increase. Doctors say testing is needed for those experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, like a loss of taste and smell, shortness of breath, fever, congestion, cough and more. This even applies for those who’ve been vaccinated.

“We’re seeing nationwide a lack of engagement with testing when you have symptoms the thought being that there’s no way I can have COVID-19 if I’ve had my vaccine. We’re learning that that is a very rare event, but it is occurring and so you know I would encourage anyone whether they are vaccinated or not if they have symptoms fitting with COVID-19 that they pursue testing immediately rather than waiting and saying oh this must be allergies or oh this must be the common cold because when you are sick and actively infected whether you’re vaccinated or not you have the opportunity to spread this virus to others around you,” said Dr. Stephen Thacker, Associate Chief Medical Officer, Memorial Health.

Doctors say vaccination is key to helping us stop spread and mutation of the virus.

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