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Chatham County Health Department Admin gives COVID-19 update to County Commission

Published: Sep. 10, 2021 at 5:18 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The top administrator at the Chatham County Health Department weighed in today after following the President Biden’s announcement regarding vaccine and testing mandates for certain sectors of health care workers, federal employees and private business.

Chatham County Health Department Administrator Dr. Chris Rustin says at this point it’s too early to tell what effect the Biden Administration’s announcement regarding vaccine and testing requirements will have here in Chatham County.

“You’ve seen that the announcements been made, but there are already talk about challenges to that announcement. And so until it really plays out, and actually gets put in place, it’s too soon to tell. I do hope that it will encourage people to want to get vaccinated,” said Rustin.

In the most current data Dr. Rustin shared with Chatham County Commissioners this morning, about 47-percent of county residents are fully vaccinated. That’s about two percent higher than the state average.

Dr. Rustin said, “What we want to continue to do as sort of a neutral party in public health, is to recommend individuals make that decision for themselves, to review the science, to speak to a medical provider, public health official...to come to that decision on their own.”

We asked Dr. Rustin if the health department falls under the umbrella of health care providers that will eventually be required to be fully vaccinated under the President’s recently announced order. Rustin explained that’s still being worked out, but added the majority of employees at the Chatham County Health Department have already been vaccinated.

“We feel very good about our vaccination rates, within the Health Department. I think most of our employees have recognized that in the high-risk work that we do, it is important to be vaccinated. Not only as an example to the community, but to protect themselves as they come in contact with the public,” said Dr. Rustin.

The County, City of Savannah, Chatham Area Transit and Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools are announcing a collaborative monetary incentive program to get more of their respective employees vaccinated. That meeting is scheduled for next Monday at the County Commission building.

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