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This story was updated at 6:54 p.m. on Jan. 15, with more information.

IMPORTANT NOTE: While the Times Free Press is working hard to update this page with timely, accurate information, vaccine distribution plans change rapidly and vary from county to county and state to state. Please check with your local health department for updates to the below information. 

 

COVID-19 VACCINATIONS

Hamilton County

The Tennessee Department of Health has released a tool to help residents see when they will be eligible to receive the vaccine. You can access it here. 

Hamilton County is now offering the COVID-19 vaccine for all people aged 75 and older, as well as people in phases 1a1 and 1a2, according to the state's vaccination plan.

The following list contains all the currently eligible groups in Hamilton County as of Dec. 31, according to the county health department:

* All health care workers with direct exposure to patients or potentially infectious materials (including hospital staff, outpatient providers, pharmacy staff, patient transport, therapists, janitors, dental providers, behavioral health providers, laboratory staff working with COVID-19 specimens, funeral/mortuary workers)

* Home health care staff

* COVID-19 mass testing site staff

* Student health providers

* Staff and residents of long-term-care facilities

* First responders

* Individuals over age 18 who cannot live independently due to health conditions or disability

* Anyone 75 years or older (must be Hamilton County resident)

People who need their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine will be able to make an appointment to receive it beginning Friday, Jan. 15

Those who received their first dose of a vaccine are encouraged to register for the second dose online at http://health.hamiltontn.org/AllServices/Coronavirus(COVID-19)/Vaccine.aspx for the fastest processing. The online appointment system is available 24 hours a day, every day of the week, and will be open until all available appointments are filled.

People without internet access or those who need special assistance can make their appointment through the Hamilton County Office of Emergency Management at 423-209-5399. The call center will be open Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m.- 2 p.m. or until all available appointments are filled. High call volume is expected, so callers may experience a busy signal and need to continue to call back. Once appointments have been filled, the caller will hear a recording that states "the call center is closed and appointments have been filled." 

When scheduling appointments, patients will need information from the vaccination record card they received at the time of their first dose, which contains information about the vaccine manufacturer (either Moderna or Pfizer), the date the first dose was given and the date the second dose is due. They should make sure that if their first dose was the Moderna vaccine, their second dose is also Moderna. Likewise, if their first dose was the Pfizer vaccine, their second dose must also be Pfizer.  

Patients should also make sure they choose a day that matches their vaccine brand and a date that is either on or after the return date given on the card. Patients who have lost their vaccination record card will have to make their appointment by calling 423-209-5399.

The second dose of the Moderna vaccine should be received 28 days after the first dose or later and the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine should be received 21 days after first dose or later, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For more information on Hamilton County vaccine distribution, click here or follow this page. Questions may be directed to the Health Department's hotline at 423-209-8383.

Eligible people seeking vaccination in the Southeast Tennessee counties outside of Hamilton County should call their local health department to make an appointment.

 

For residents in Dade, Chattooga, Catoosa, Walker and Gordon counties:

Residents can access the health district's website, but unless they are a health care provider or a first responder, they can no longer register online to be notified of vaccine availability and schedule an appointment. The health district has discontinued the online appointment service and discontinued the toll free number due to a high demand of calls and low supply of vaccines.

Residents are asked to call their county health department.

Dade County: 706-657-6181

Catoosa County: 706-406-2000

Chattooga County: 706-857-3471

Gordon County: 706-624-1444

Walker County: 706-638-5577

All immunizations are by appointment. To schedule an appointment, call the local health department. If you have difficulty reaching them, be patient and persistent. Keep calling. 

From the Health District:

"We have closed our online registration portal for adults 65 and older and their caregivers. If you already registered online to be notified to schedule an appointment, please know we have that information and will contact you just as soon as possible. 

Please do not call the health department or show up at the health department asking about previous registrations.  Be assured you will be contacted sooner or later if you have already registered. 

We had to close online registration because the number of registrations we were receiving was increasing at a far greater rate than we are capable of scheduling appointments to immunize people with our limited vaccine supply. 

Our online registration portal for healthcare providers, workers, and first responders, however, remains active.

You can find that portal at nwgapublichealth.org.If you use the online registration for healthcare providers,  workers, and first responders, please make sure you register correctly and completely.

Vaccine supply at the moment in Northwest Georgia remains very limited. We are uncertain how long it might be before it increases enough to allow us to notify you. Please be patient. We will notify you immediately when there is adequate vaccine available for your immunization."

 

Whitfield County

Dalton and Whitfield County will be operating a satellite drive-through COVID-19 vaccination site on Monday, January 18, and Wednesday, Jan. 20, at the Dalton Convention Center at 2211 Dug Gap Battle Road. Free vaccinations will be made by appointment only to Georgia residents age 65 and older. The effort is being made in cooperation with the Whitfield County government and the State Department of Health's North Georgia Health District.

Monday's time slots are filled but residents can sign up for Wednesday's vaccinations at outlook.office365.com/owa/calendar/DaltonConventionCenterVaccination@gets.onmicrosoft.com/bookings/. People without appointments will not be able to receive the vaccine. However, if more than one person traveling to the site together in the same vehicle each have confirmed appointments but were unable to sign up for the same time of day, they can be served at the same time. Additional booking dates and times beyond Monday will be announced shortly based on demand and vaccine availability.

Additional booking dates and times beyond Wednesday's event will be announced when they are scheduled based on demand and vaccine availability. Check for updates at facebook.com/CityOfDaltondaltonga.gov and facebook.com/WhitfieldCountyGA.

The vaccinations will be made by trained and certified paramedics from the Dalton Fire Department and also volunteer nurses from the community. Support including traffic control and logistical support will be provided by the Dalton Police Department, Dalton Fire Department, and Whitfield County agencies.

 

WHEN TO GET TESTED

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the people who should get tested are:

* People who have symptoms of COVID-19.

* People who have had close contact with someone with confirmed COVID-19.

* People who have been asked or referred to get testing by their health-care provider, local or state health department (usually due to being in a public place where someone who was infected was known to be present).

If you become symptomatic, you should be tested right away. However, there is no definitive or official recommendation for when asymptomatic people should be tested. It is not known exactly how soon after exposure you might become contagious, but studies show that half of those who are going to turn positive will do so within four to five days, and over 97% will do so within 11 1/2 days. So if you remain asymptomatic, it would appear reasonable to wait five days after being exposed before getting tested. 

Read more from Dr. Paul M. Hendricks on when you should get tested here.

 

HOW TO GET TESTED

In Hamilton County: 

Hamilton County Health Department affiliated free COVID-19 testing sites:

- Alstom manufacturing plant - Hamilton County Health Department Drive-Thru

999 Riverfront Parkway, Chattanooga, TN 37402

Starting Wednesday, Dec. 2, the Health Department's COVID-19 testing site at the Alstom Plant will operate from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., every day of the week.

Test results will no longer be automatically sent through the mail. They can be accessed through a secure web portal, the instructions for which are on the "MyResultsCard" included in the information packet given at the test site.

For those who do not have internet access, the Health Department will still mail their results.

Complete information about test results can be found at http://health.hamiltontn.org/AllServices/Coronavirus(COVID-19)/TestResults.aspx.

This site is open to the public without an appointment or referral. Free transportation is available. To request free transportation to Hamilton County Health Department testing sites, call the hotline at 423-209-8383 for details. Hotline hours are Monday-Friday 8 a.m. - 4 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

 

Other places in Hamilton County: 

- Cempa Community Care will offer free COVID-19 testing at Alleo Health System, located at 4411 Oakwood Drive in Chattanooga. Hours of operation will be Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

- Cempa Community Care will offer free mobile COVID-19 testing throughout January to increase access to testing in other areas across Chattanooga. The following is a list of dates, times, and locations:

 

The Bethlehem Center

Date & Time: Wednesday, January 6, noon to 3 p.m.

Address: 200 W 38th Street, Chattanooga, TN 37410

 

New City East Lake Church

Date & Time: Wednesday, January 13, noon to 3 p.m. 

Address: 2903 E 37th Street, Chattanooga, TN 37407

 

City Church

Date & Time: Wednesday, January 20, noon to 3 p.m.

Address: 7122 Lee Hwy., Chattanooga, TN 37421

 

- Clinica Medicos offers free COVID-19 testing seven days a week at 1300 E. 23rd St. in Chattanooga. You can make an appointment beforehand by calling 423-760-4000 for more information and to schedule your test.

- Premiere Community Health Center, Dodson Avenue Community Health Center and Southside Community Health Center will all offer free COVID-19 testing beginning Monday, May 18, 2020. 

Southside:

3800 Tennessee Ave. Ste. 124

Chattanooga, TN 37409

Dodson Avenue:

1200 Dodson Ave.

Chattanooga, TN 37406

Premier Health:

251 N. Lyerly St. Suite 300

Chattanooga, TN 37404

Private physicians and clinics are also providing COVID-19 testing. You can find a list of testing sites from the state here and from the county by visiting http://health.hamiltontn.org/AllServices/Coronavirus(COVID-19)/HealthDepartmentAffiliatedFREETestingSitesinHamiltonCounty.aspx.

 

In Southeast Tennessee: 

The Tennessee Department of Health continues to provide free COVID-19 drive-thru testing sites for Southeast Tennessee county residents. Starting Monday, June 8, these sites will have updated Monday through Friday testing hours, according to a news release. 

Below are updated testing hours at local health departments:

- Bradley County Health Department
2800 Westside Dr NW, Cleveland, TN 
9 a.m. – 11 a.m. EST

- Franklin County Health Department
266 Joyce Lane, Winchester, TN
8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. CST

- Grundy County Health Department
1372 Main Street, Altamont, TN
8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. CST

- McMinn County Health Department
393 County Road 554, Athens, TN
8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. EST

- Rhea County Health Department
334 Eagle Lane, Evensville, TN
8:30 a.m. – 11 a.m. EST

-Sequatchie County Health Department
16939 Rankin Avenue, Dunlap, TN
8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. CST

 

In Northwest Georgia: 

COVID-19 testing will no longer be offered at the Catoosa, Chattooga, Gordon, Haralson, Paulding, Polk, or Walker County health departments. Test sites at the West Rome Baptist Church in Rome and the Clarence Brown Conference Center in Cartersville will be closed.

Testing will remain free. Anyone who wants to get tested can get tested but testing is especially recommended for anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and for close contacts of positive COVID-19 cases on their tenth day of quarantine.

All test sites will feature convenient drive-up processing.  No appointments will be needed.  Test sites in Catoosa, Dade, and Walker counties will feature supervised self-collection. 

Under the new program, public health will provide COVID-19 testing six days a week across the Northwest Health District. 

- Catoosa County

The Catoosa County Health Department announced the suspension of its drive-through COVID-19
testing program so that resources can be committed to scheduling, preparing and providing
COVID-19 vaccinations.

Currently, Catoosa County residents aged 65 and over, medical providers and first responders
can schedule vaccine appointments by calling (706) 406-2000 and selecting menu option #2.
Medical providers and first responders only can sign up online at nwgapublichealth.org.

Plans are to begin providing COVID-19 vaccines by appointment only on Tuesday, January 19 at the Catoosa County Health Department, 145 Catoosa Circle in Ringgold. Vaccinations for other age groups and populations will be available as soon as vaccine supplies increase and as immunization eligibility requirements in Georgia are expanded.

People wishing to receive free drive-through COVID-19 testing can visit the Georgia Department of Public Health/Walker County Health Department testing site at the Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 289 Dunwoody Road, Lafayette, on Fridays from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Additionally, COVID-19 tests are available through a variety of private medical providers.

- Chattooga County

Where: North Summerville Baptist Church at 119 Maplewood Drive

When: Tuesdays and the second and fourth Saturdays of each month from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

- Dade County

Where: Dade County Health Department at 71 Case Avenue, Ste. H-100, Trenton, Ga.

When: Wednesdays and the fifth Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. - noon and 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

- Gordon County

Where: Senior Center, 150 Cambridge Court, Calhoun

When: Every Tuesday, Wednesday, first Saturday of the month from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

- Murray County

Where: Various locations
When: Various times

Must call 1-888-881-1474 and register and receive an appointment. The call center is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., and on Saturday, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. Call volumes can be abnormally high at times, but please continue dialing 1-888-881-1474 until you get through.

https://www.nghd.org/pr/34-/1175-update-now-3-locations-for-free-covid-19-testing-in-north-ga.html

- Walker County

Where: Chattanooga Valley Nazarene Church at 2853 Chattanooga Valley Road, Flintstone, Ga.

When: Thursdays, Fridays and the second and fourth Saturdays of each month from 9 a.m. - noon and 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

- Whitfield County

Where: Various locations
When: Various times

Must call 1-888-881-1474 and register and receive an appointment. The call center is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., and on Saturday, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. Call volumes can be abnormally high at times, but please continue dialing 1-888-881-1474 until you get through.

https://www.nghd.org/pr/34-/1175-update-now-3-locations-for-free-covid-19-testing-in-north-ga.html 

_________

Northwest Georgia residents can also call one of four phone numbers from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday to be screened and scheduled for testing at a convenient location. The health department will give residents the testing location once an appointment is made. 

Those phone numbers are:

(706) 802-5329

(706) 802-5885

(706) 802-5886

(706) 802-5888

Residents can also email district1-1.eoc@dph.ga.gov anytime and ask to be referred for a test. People are asked to give their name and phone number so a public health worker can be in touch. 

The state health department will also announce periodic drive-thru testing sites at various counties. For more information on those sites, visit www.nwgapublichealth.org. You do not have to live in a county to be tested in a county if drive-thru testing is offered. 

For more information about COVID-19 visit https://dph.georgia.gov/novelcoronavirus or https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

How we report on coronavirus numbers

Confirmed case data only provides a snapshot of the coronavirus outbreak and shouldn't be taken as an accurate reflection of how many people are currently infected.

Laboratories are required to report positive COVID-19 test results to local health departments, such as the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department, as soon as results are available in order to support a rapid response. The Tennessee Department of Health and other state department numbers are updated at set times during the day, so there may be a lag in the reporting of state level data.

It's impossible to know how many COVID-19 tests are pending, since both public and private labs are used for testing, and providers do not report when a sample is collected. Negative results are sometimes available depending on the agency and its method of tracking COVID-19.

The Times Free Press uses numbers from credible county, state, national and international public health agency sources in our coverage of coronavirus and other infectious diseases. The newspaper also may report on COVID-19 cases that the newspaper has independently verified in an effort to keep our readers as informed as possible.

All data are subject to variations and changes based on access, availability, methods and other factors that can affect data collection, making health data rarely perfect.

— Elizabeth Fite, health care reporter

______

 

Call the Chattanooga-Hamilton County coronavirus hotline at 423-209-8383 weekdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. or the Tennessee Department of Health hotline at 877-857-2945 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. central time daily.

 

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