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
• 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

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