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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. 

Vaccines to protect against COVID-19 are being administered in Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama. Here is what you need to know about the rollout plans.

TENNESSEE

Who can get vaccinated?

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 currently providing vaccines to:

— All people aged 75 and older

— 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

 

How to get vaccinated in Hamilton County:

Update: First dose appointments are now full. We will update this page when first dose appointments are available again.

To make an appointment for a first dose of the vaccine, register online at vaccine.hamiltontn.gov/, or call 423-209-5399.

When: Jan. 24, 25, 26, 27, 28 (new day), 30, 31, Feb. 7.

Where: Tennessee Riverpark Hubert Fry Center, 4301 Amnicola Highway. Enter near the Chattanooga State side of the Riverpark, not the Navy and Marine Reserve side.

Bring: Proof of eligibility, such as a work ID and/or documentation of residency. 

To make an appointment for a second dose of the vaccine, register online at vaccine.hamiltontn.gov/

When: Jan. 23 (Pfizer Brand) and Jan. 22, 24, 26, 28 29 & Feb. 1, 2, 4 (Moderna brand)

Where: Carta Bus Barn, 1617 Wilcox Boulevard, Chattanooga

IMPORTANT: When scheduling your second dose ensure you schedule an appointment for the same brand you received for the first dose. Refer to your vaccination card for vaccine brand information and second dose date range.

 

How to get vaccinated in Southeast Tennessee

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

Bledsoe County: 423-447-2149

Bradley County: 423-728-7020

Coffee County: 931-723-5134

Franklin County: 931-967-3826

Grundy County: 931-692-3641

Polk County: 423-388-4533

Rhea County: 423-775-7819

Marion County: 423-942-2238

McMinn County: 423-745-7431

Meigs County: 423-334-5185

Sequatchie County: 423-949-3619

For more information, visit the Tennessee Department of Health here. 

 

GEORGIA

Who can get vaccinated?

COVID-19 vaccinations are currently being provided to people in Phase 1-A+: 

— Staff in clinical settings such as physicians, nurses, pharmacists, EMS, laboratory staff, environmental services or other similar employees

— Residents and staff at long-term care facilities who have been unable to get vaccinated

— All adults 65 years of age or older and their caregivers

— Law enforcement and fire personnel.

 

Future phases are:

  • 1B for essential non-health care workers

  • IC for people aged 16-64 who have medical conditions that increase the risk for COVID-19.

 

How to get vaccinated:

For residents in Dade, Chattooga, Catoosa, Walker and Gordon counties, the only way to register for an appointment if you are 65 years or older in these counties is to call the local health department in the county you live in and make an appointment. 

Dade County: 706-657-6181

Catoosa County: 423-800-8004

Chattooga County: 706-857-3471

Gordon County: 706-624-1444

Walker County: 706-670-1234

For residents in Whitfield and Murray counties, register online for a COVID-19 vaccine here or call 1-888-881-1474 for an appointment. 

Access the vaccine locator to find a provider here. 

For more information, visit the Georgia Department of Public Health here

 

ALABAMA

Who can get vaccinated?

Alabama is providing COVID-19 vaccinations for people 75 years or older, first responders, including law enforcement and firefighters, and those working or living in congregate settings such as homeless shelters and group homes.

How to get vaccinated:

Schedule an appointment with the Alabama Department of Public Health COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline: 1-855-566-5333.

 

WHEN TO GET TESTED FOR COVID-19

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

Monday-Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.. Not open Sundays.

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:

- 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 (all times below are for Monday-Friday): 

- Bradley County Health Department
2800 Westside Dr NW, Cleveland, TN 
8:30 a.m. – 10:30 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. 

- 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: Woodstock First Baptist Church, 11905 Highway 92, Woodstock, GA 30188

(Please enter via Trickum Rd/Gunnin Rd entrance)

When: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

Free, drive-thru testing is available but residents must register here first: https://mako.exchange/splash/GAmakotesting/.

 

- 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: Edwards Park, 115 Edwards Park, Dalton, GA 30721

When: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

Free, drive-thru testing is available but residents must register here first: https://mako.exchange/splash/GAmakotesting/.

_________

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.

 

This story was updated at 12 p.m. on Jan. 25, with more information.

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