Ferguson talks the “community” side of the pool

News

“It’s important to me… I think it’s a service to the community.” Post 2 Commissioner Karleen Ferguson speaks on the priority of the pool in her own opinion.

Ferguson spoke about the balance the county has to maintain as they face the needs of the county versus the availability of funds in the budget. Ferguson also noted how important physical activity is to her. Owning Stay Active Ellijay, Ferguson has spent years in the business of keeping people active and healthy. She points to her history here as she says how important a pool, and later a full recreation center, is to her.

While acknowledging that she is one-third of the board, Ferguson said her own priorities for the coming project is to focus on both pools as a single thought as she wants to have the children’s play area and ramp entry to be easier for those who need it. The “zero-entry” concepts plays a special role as Ferguson wants the growing senior population to have just as much access as any others.

But it’s not just the pool, according to Ferguson, who says, “One of my things with the whole River Park, is to build community. The pool is a place where we can build community, where we can come together, all ages, all economic backgrounds, and be a community there. To me, it fits so many of our needs, in my mind, of what’s important for the county, for the community.”

With such a large project originally being planned for Clear Creek, but now looking more and more like it will be located at River Park, Ferguson was excited to look at a partnership with East Ellijay for a closer location as well as the chance to save money on the project with both locations not costing the county money for the land.

While she said she is more responsible for the unincorporated parts of the county, Ferguson looks at the citizens inside and outside of the city limits as the same body of Gilmer County.

Despite the positivity and optimism, Ferguson said she is “crossing her fingers” on the River Park location as the county continues investigations into its viability. Even though it “fits very well there,” says Ferguson, “It’s all about the flood plain.” Ferguson acknowledged the planning phase is still in motion and she emphasized that the county is still answering questions to make sure it will not raise the expense of the project to make the land viable. She said the county still has a budget to follow and must stay within that budgeted amount.

Ferguson also said she wants to stay positive and is “hopefull” when looking at the Memorial Day opening goal. However, she also said she would not be willing to rush it just to get it open by then. While having a goal is great for projects, she wants to take her time and do it right.

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Piedmont Hospitals Support National Drug Take Back Day

News
Piedmont Mountainside
PRESS RELEASE FROM PIEDMONT MOUNTAINSIDE

Jasper, Ga. (April 16, 2019) – From 1999 to 2010, opioid-related deaths in Georgia increased by 500 percent. In 2016, there were close to 1,000 deaths involving opioids in the state and those numbers are continuing to increase. Facing those statistics and knowing that all healthcare systems need to play a role in attempting to stem this epidemic, Piedmont Healthcare is examining its pain management policies and connecting its hospitals with stakeholders in the community in an effort to address this crisis.

National Drug Take Back Day, which is sponsored by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), is Saturday, April 27, and will feature activities between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Local law enforcement agencies will provide a safe, convenient and responsible way to dispose of unused or expired prescription drugs. The majority of teenagers abusing prescription drugs get them from the home medicine cabinet. Using pharmaceutical drugs without a prescription or a doctor’s supervision can lead to accidental poisoning, overdose and abuse.

“One of the most important things we can do as individuals, especially as we try to protect our families and children, is to dispose of unused, unwanted, and expired prescription drugs,” said Piedmont Mountainside CEO Denise Ray. “That’s why we’re supporting the efforts of our local public safety departments and letting our employees know about National Drug Take Back Day and what they can do on a personal level.”

In 2018, Take Back Day brought in more than 900,000 pounds of unused or expired prescription medication. Disposing of those drugs safely keeps them off the streets and protects the environment as well. On its website for Take Back Day, the DEA has a collection site locator that allows individuals to find the closest take back sites to where they live: https://takebackday.dea.gov/.

Throughout its 11 hospitals, Piedmont will be coordinating with various local law enforcement and public health agencies on Take Back Day.

From a system level, Piedmont, the largest healthcare provider in Georgia, convened an Opioids Task Force in 2018 and is seeking to provide patients with optimal pain management while preventing the potential for opioid abuse. One of the key tenets to Piedmont’s plan is to increase education and awareness among both patients and staff. There are times when the use of opioids is appropriate and necessary, but Piedmont’s new protocols, created by its physician leaders in consultation with clinical staff, will consider non-opioids and alternate pain management modalities such as topical therapy, local injections, massage, physical therapy and more. Piedmont will also focus on establishing system-wide standardization and coordination of prescribing protocols in key risk areas.

“It is important to reduce the stigma around opioid addiction,” said Ray. “Unfortunately this is a sweeping epidemic, one that is effecting people across the country, regardless of age, gender or ethnicity. No one person, organization, city or state can tackle it alone, but Piedmont Mountainside is proud to join our sister hospitals and play a role alongside our patients and partners in the community.”

Learn more about Piedmont at piedmont.org

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Keep Your Preteen Safe – Vaccinate Them Today

Announcements, Health

Keep Your Preteen Safe – Vaccinate Them Today
Vaccines Available at County Health Departments in North Georgia

NORTH GEORGIA – Vaccinate your preteen today so they can have a healthy tomorrow.

In an effort to protect every adult and child, the Georgia Department of Public Health recognizes
March 11 – 15, 2019 as Georgia Preteen Vaccine Awareness Week. This week serves as a
reminder for parents to talk with their preteens and teens about getting immunized against
vaccine-preventable diseases.

Public health departments located in the North Georgia Health District in Cherokee, Fannin,
Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield counties encourage parents to make vaccinations a
priority. Vaccines protect children from the dangers of preventable diseases and are available at
health departments in each county. See contact information below.

According to the Georgia Department of Public Health Rule (511-2-2), all students born on or
after January 1, 2002, entering or transferring into seventh grade and any “new entrant” into
eighth -12th grades in Georgia need proof of an adolescent pertussis (whooping cough) booster
vaccination (called “Tdap”) AND an adolescent meningococcal vaccination (MenACWY). This
law affects all public and private schools including, but not limited to, charter schools,
community schools, juvenile court schools and other alternative school settings (excluding
homeschool).

Vaccines are the best defense we have against serious, preventable and sometimes deadly
contagious diseases. They help avoid expensive therapies and hospitalization needed to treat
infectious diseases like influenza and meningitis. Immunizations also reduce absences both at
school and after school activities and decrease the spread of illness at home, school and the
community.

The CDC currently recommends the following vaccines for preteens and teens:

  • Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis (Tdap)
  • Influenza (flu)
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Meningococcal Disease (MenACWY)

Georgia Preteen Vaccine Awareness Week is an opportunity to raise awareness through schools,
health care providers and the media regarding preteen immunizations, particularly Georgia’s
pertussis and meningococcal requirements for incoming seventh-grade students. Speak with your
physician today to find out if your preteen is up-to-date.
For more information, click here.

NO COST Hepatitis A Shots Offered at Health Departments in North Georgia

Featured Stories

NO COST Hepatitis A Shots Offered at Health Departments in North Georgia

North GA – Due to an increase in eastern Alabama, southeast Tennessee and northwest Georgia of reported cases of hepatitis A, a vaccine-preventable, communicable disease of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus,
public health departments in north Georgia are providing hepatitis A vaccinations at no out-of-pocket expense. We are especially urging
people who are at greatest risk for becoming infected with hepatitis A, including people who are incarcerated in jails, homeless persons, injecting drug users, and men who have sex with men, to come to a county health department in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens or Whitfield County for a no-cost-to-clients hepatitis A vaccination. Learn more at http://bit.ly/NoCost-Hep-A-Shot_NorthGA.
_____________________________________________________________________________
Contact information for each county health department in North Georgia:
Cherokee: 1219 Univeter Road, Canton, GA 30115, (770) 345-7371 or 7545 North Main Street, Woodstock, GA, (770) 928-0133
Fannin: 95 Ouida Street, Blue Ridge, GA 30513, (706) 632-3023
Gilmer: 28 Southside Church Street, Ellijay, GA 30540, (706) 635-4363
Murray: 709 Old Dalton-Ellijay Road, Chatsworth, GA 30705, (706) 695-4585
Pickens: 60 Health Way, Jasper, GA 30143, (706) 253-2821
Whitfield: 800 Professional Boulevard, Dalton, GA 30720, (706) 279-9600

Public Health District and County Health Departments Closed on Tuesday, January 29th

Announcements

For Immediate Release

January 28, 2019

Public Health District and County Health Departments Closed on Tuesday, January 29th

Due to predicted winter weather conditions, North Georgia Health District 1-2, based in Dalton, and Health Departments and public health services in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield counties will be CLOSED on Tuesday, January 29, 2019. All further updates will be provided and posted to our website at www.nghd.org and on our social media sites at facebook.com/NGaHealthtwitter.com/NGAHealthDist,instagram.com/northgahealth.

Rabies Alert issued in Ellijay

News

ELLIJAY, GA – Gilmer County Environmental Health officials are urging residents near the intersection of Board Town Road and Chatsworth Highway in Ellijay, Georgia to call for a rabies risk assessment if they or their children may have been in contact with an orange tabby cat in the area that has now tested positive for rabies.

The phone number for local environmental health is (706) 635-6050, or if calling after hours, the Georgia Poison Control Center toll-free number is 1-800-222-1222.

On Monday, December 3rd, a local resident picked up the cat after finding it in their carport. The cat was behaving sickly and dragging its back legs.

The county environmental health office was notified and sent the cat to the Georgia Department of Public Health Laboratory for rabies testing on Tuesday. The lab confirmed the animal was positive for rabies on Wednesday.

Since the resident who handled the cat was not bitten or scratched, no treatment was required, and no other human exposure is known, at this time. However, environmental health staff will be canvassing that area today, distributing notices to residents to call their office or the Georgia Poison Control Center if they or their children were potentially in contact with the cat within the past two weeks.

Residents are also being notified that several stray cats are in that area, and these cats should be avoided due to the high risk of rabies exposure.

All residents are urged to avoid wild or feral animals and to maintain rabies vaccinations in pets. If a pet receives an initial one-year vaccine, it can receive a three-year rabies vaccination the following year.

A bite or scratch from any wild mammal should cause concern and be reported to a health care provider and the local environmental health office.

Children should be warned to avoid contact with wild animals and any stray dog or cat, and they should report any contact with these animals to an adult right away.

For more information about rabies and its prevention, log onto the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at https://www.cdc.gov/rabies/.

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Dog bit by rabid raccoon in Talking Rock

News

Talking Rock, Ga – The North Georgia Health District, district office of the Georgia Department of Public Health, is warning citizens in both Pickens and Gilmer Counties to be aware of potentially rabid animals in the Talking Rock area.

The official statement by the office only reports of a dog bite sometime on September 4. While the raccoon was found and sent for testing, a positive return has officials in an alerted state. Since the animal has already been recovered, Gilmer County Environmental Health officials are simply urging pet owners to vaccinate their animals as it saved this dog’s life. He is currently under observation at home.

According to Andrea Mathis, county environmental health manager, there was no human exposure to the raccoon. She went on to say, “It’s imperative to maintain rabies vaccinations in our pets, not only for their protection, but to protect ourselves and our families from rabies. Once our pets are exposed to rabies, they can expose us, and rabies is virtually 100 percent fatal if not treated before symptoms begin.”

Check the full release below:

Gilmer County Environmental Health officials are urging residents to ensure pets are vaccinated against rabies after a Talking Rock dog was bitten by a rabid raccoon.

The raccoon fought with the dog outside a home in the Ruby Ridge Drive/Highway 136 area of Talking Rock near the Gilmer-Pickens County Line on September 4th.

The raccoon was shipped for testing to the Georgia Public Health Laboratory and the positive rabies results have now been reported to the Gilmer County Environmental Health office.

According to Andrea Mathis, county environmental health manager, there was no human exposure to the raccoon, and since the dog was currently vaccinated against rabies, it only required a booster shot and at-home observation for 45 days.

“It’s imperative to maintain rabies vaccinations in our pets, not only for their protection, but to protect ourselves and our families from rabies,” said Mathis. “Once our pets are exposed to rabies, they can expose us, and rabies is virtually 100 percent fatal if not treated before symptoms begin.”

An opportunity to get rabies vaccinations for dogs and cats at the reduced cost of $10.00 will be at the Fall Vaccines Clinic hosted by VCA Animal Appalachian Animal Hospital on September 29th. Other vaccines will be offered, as well. Please click on the attached flyer below to view various times and locations of the clinic that are being held throughout Gilmer County.

To learn more about rabies and how to protect against the disease, call the local county environmental health office. The number for Gilmer County Environmental Health is (706) 635-6050.

Additional rabies information is available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at www.cdc.gov/rabies.

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