DPH News Release – Georgia Receives Oral Antiviral COVID-19 Treatments

Molnupiravir and Paxlovid™ Available at Select Retail Pharmacies

Atlanta – The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is announcing the allocation of Merck and Pfizer oral antiviral treatments for COVID-19 to select retail pharmacies in Georgia. Initial supply of Molnupiravir and Paxlovid™from the federal government is very limited. DPH anticipates additional allocations in the coming weeks as production increases.

Per guidance from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), initial allocations were made to federal pharmacy partners. DPH has partnered with Walmart, Walgreens, and Good Neighbor Pharmacy Group (a group of small independent pharmacies) to ensure coverage across the state. Pharmacies currently allocated treatments can be found on the DPH website at https://dph.georgia.gov/dph-covid-19-guidance.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization for molnupirvar by Merck and an emergency use authorization for Paxlovid™ by Pfizer as oral antiviral treatments of COVID-19. Early studies indicate these treatments may reduce severe outcomes from COVID-19 including hospitalization or death. The antivirals are recommended for treatment of individuals who are at high risk for severe COVID-19 or have underlying medical conditions. Both drugs require a prescription and should be initiated as soon as possible after diagnosis of COVID-19 and within five days of symptom onset. 

While antivirals may help treat COVID-19, vaccination is the best prevention against COVID infection. 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. To find a COVID vaccination location, visit https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-vaccine.

Basic prevention measures should also be followed to help prevent further spread of COVID and mitigate outbreaks of infection, especially in public settings: wear a mask, physically distance, and wash your hands frequently with soap and water.

For updates on COVID-19, follow @GaDPH and @GovKemp on Twitter and @GaDPH and @GovKemp on Facebook.

PROTECT NORTH GEORGIA COMMUNITIES FROM COVID-19

REDUCE THE SPREAD OF THE OMICRON VARIANT WITH A LAYERED MITIGATION STRATEGY

GAINESVILLE – COVID-19 cases have rapidly increased over the holiday weekend. The number of positive cases nearly doubled in Georgia since Friday due to the fast spreading Omicron variant. The recent spike in cases mirrors the first months of COVID-19 infections.

District 2 Public Health Director, Zachary Taylor, M.D., is concerned. “Vaccination is the most important strategy available to us against COVID-19 variants, but we must also continue to use a layered approach of protection to keep our communities safe and healthy.”

A layered approach means:
• Wear a mask while indoors despite vaccination status
• Get a booster if eligible
• Wash your hands often
• Social distance when possible
• Get a COVID test if feeling sick or have been around someone who has tested positive for COVID-19

District 2 Public Health has six FREE COVID-19 drive-thru testing locations: Forsyth, Franklin, Hall (2), Lumpkin and Union counties.

Registration is available online and is highly recommended before arriving at the testing site to greatly reduce wait times:
• Visit phdistrict2.org
• Choose the testing location
• Register on the Mako or LTS website by inputting contact information and a valid email address
• Results will be sent to the email address provided within 48 hours

North Georgia residents are at a greater risk of infection and hospitalization from the Omicron variant, many communities are less than 50% fully vaccinated. In comparison, the state of Georgia has a vaccination rate of 53%.

District 2 Public Health officials are urging communities to stay vigilant and use all mitigation strategies available to minimize the burden on hospitals, families, and communities.

For more information on COVID-19 vaccinations, testing, and to find district-wide COVID-19 data visit the District 2 Public Health website at phdistrict2.org.

COVID-19 Weekly Update 12.27.21

Click extract below to view data for all 13 counties.

EPI SUMMARY: Data source Georgia DPH and SendSS. Cases include all confirmed and probable cases. Population data source Oasis, 2019. Time frame as of 11/06/2020 to 12/16/2021. Vaccines introduced 12/19/2020 – decline noted in cases after vaccine implementation. Vaccine data includes number of vaccines administered in each county in District 2 and vaccines administered per 100,000 (of the total county population). Vaccine data also shows number of one dose received and percentage of residents as well as 2 doses received, and percentage of residents vaccinated.

  • *Graph above shows weekly changes in COVID cases. The case rate reported in the graph is approximately half of the 14-day case rate.
  • *Vaccine graph shows percentage of individuals vaccinated by age group.

Covid-19 Safety During the Holiday Season

DISTRICT 2 PUBLIC HEALTH ENCOURAGES COVID-19 SAFETY DURING THE HOLIDAY SEASON

GAINESVILLE – COVID-19 cases are on the rise in District 2 Public Health counties. Vaccination remains the most important part of COVID-19 holiday safety protocols. Get vaccinated or get a booster shot, wear a mask if gathering indoors, social distance, and wash your hands.

Although, the Delta variant is still the most prevalent variant in Georgia, accounting for over 90% of cases, the Omicron variant is proving to be a fast spreading COVID-19 variant. It is important to remain committed to protecting the most vulnerable. This holiday season can be enjoyed safely if precautions are taken to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Now is the time to get a COVID-19 booster for added protection. Anyone 16 and older who was vaccinated at least 6 months ago with two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or received the J & J vaccine at least 2 months ago is eligible for a booster shot.

The continued use of mitigation strategies will reduce the stress on hospitals and healthcare workers, while also keeping elderly and immunocompromised family members safe. If gathering with friends and family who are both vaccinated and unvaccinated, wear a mask, wash your hands and social distance to reduce the chance of spreading or contracting COVID-19.

Testing is also important to reduce community spread of COVID-19. PCR tests are available at six drive-thru testing sites located in Forsyth, Franklin, Hall, Lumpkin, and Union counties. Results are available within 24 to 36 hours.

Forsyth County and Sherwood Plaza in Hall County will be the only testing sites open on Thursday, December 23. All testing sites will be closed on Christmas Eve.

For more information about COVID-19 testing and to find recent data about District 2 COVID-19 case rates and vaccination rates visit phdistrict2.org.

Georgia Flu Surveillance Update – Week 49 (Ending December 11, 2021)

As of week 49, Georgia flu activity is moderate= 7 (on the scale of 1-13). Activity levels are based on the percent of outpatient visits in Georgia due to Influenza-like illness during this timeframe.

For the corresponding week, the percentage of outpatient visits for Influenza-like Illness was 3.8%, the number of influenza-associated death was 1; the number of Metro Area Influenza Hospitalizations was 6; and reported Influenza Outbreak was 4.

Getting the flu shot is the best thing you can do to protect yourself and others.

District 2 health departments have flu vaccines available. Please contact your local health department for information on how to get your Flu vaccine at https://phdistrict2.org/?page_id=597.

To learn more about how to protect yourself against flu, visit DPH website at https://dph.georgia.gov/epidemiology/influenza/seasonal-flu-influenza
and CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/