Coastal Health District addresses coronavirus concerns ahead of St. Patrick’s Day festival


SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – There is some concern about the possible spread of infection during Savannah’s St. Patrick’s Day Festival following Governor Brian Kemp’s announcement regarding two new coronavirus cases in Georgia.

It’s one of the world’s largest festivals, drawing in half a million people every year to the downtown area. The District Health Director of the Coastal Health District said they are talking with other community and state leaders about the virus, but they are only in the early stages of planning.

WSAV News 3 asked if people around our area have something to be concerned about. Lawton Davis said, “we will have a lot of people coming into our community. We have no way of knowing where they may have been, so at this point in time, with the absence of any known COVID-19 in Savannah, Chatham County, the surrounding counties of our health district, I think the risk to the population is low. However, we do have the risk of influenza.”

At this time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the only place in Georgia where people can get tested for COVID-19. Health officials do not have a quarantine zone or any way of testing festival-goers and families who will be lining the parade routes.

“If they have traveled here from somewhere else, and they’re sick, certainly, if they came by car we would ask them to go home and isolate themselves,” said Davis. “Schools have sort of internal policies and thresholds, and if a certain number of children or staff are sick or absent, they might even consider closing school, but we don’t have any formal screening process for all the kids that have been out for a week.” 

Davis said schools around the Coastal Empire do have sanitary kits to help with coronavirus prevention. However, he recommends those who are considering sharing drinks, food and taking part in the “kissing soldier traditions” to think before they act.

The District Health Director said his staff is constantly receiving updates from the CDC and state leaders. For more updates on the coronavirus, visit here.

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