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South Central Health District of Georgia

The South Central Health District

Bleckley. Dodge. Johnson. Laurens. Montgomery. Pulaski. Telfair. Treutlen. Wheeler. Wilcox.




A message from the Georgia Department of Public Health

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response in Georgia

The novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) poses a global health threat, but the actual risk of contracting the disease is very low for people in Georgia. To date there have been no cases of COVID-19 in Georgia. The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is taking various measures to protect the health of Georgians and keep the disease from spreading if we do have a case in Georgia. The best way to prevent the spread of a disease is to rapidly identify it and isolate sick people to keep others from becoming ill. In order to rapidly identify a case of COVID-19, DPH is taking the following steps:

  • Contacting all travelers who have recently returned from mainland China. These travelers are healthy, do not have any high-risk exposures to the virus, and do not pose an immediate threat to the community. These measures are being done out of an abundance of caution. These travelers are instructed to:
    • Stay at home for 14 days after they departed from China. DPH explains how to perform social distancing, which includes staying out of school and work, and avoiding contact with other people. They may return to normal activities, including work and school, after the 14 day period.
    • Monitor their symptoms closely for 14 days after they departed from China and report to DPH immediately if they develop fever or respiratory symptoms so they can be safely evaluated and tested for COVID-19 if needed.
  • Quarantining travelers from Hubei Province, China, which is the epicenter of the outbreak. There are currently no Georgia travelers who have returned from Wuhan or Hubei Province requiring quarantine.
  • Working with the CDC Quarantine Station at the Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson International Airport to identify any ill travelers returning from China so that they can be safely evaluated and tested for COVID-19 if needed.
  • Educating the healthcare community to always ask patients about travel history, and notify public health immediately if a person seeks care for respiratory illness and has recent travel history to China.

DPH routinely responds to and contains disease outbreaks and is prepared to rapidly respond in order to protect the public’s health if a case of COVID-19 is found in a Georgia. Whilethe overall risk of coronavirus to the general public is low, the best way to prevent infection withany respiratory virus is:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or use a tissue to cover it, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Read updated CDC information about the virus, how it is spread, and how to protect yourself:

Find answers to frequently asked questions:

Read current DPH guidance:

Program Highlight:

Many thanks to our Babies Can’t Wait staff for sharing this beautiful and important message.


Diary of a 2-Year Old



There’s no sugarcoating those toddler years: They can be seriously rough. As these little people start pushing limits, asserting their independence, and developing individual personalities (more like attitudes), parents are left trying not to lose their sanity. But when you stop to think about it, life can also be difficult for those going through the terrible twos as they constantly make you mad and you pretty much only hear no. 

In a poignant post that’s going viral across social media, an unknown author is making parents pause by putting things in a toddler’s perspective. The meaningful piece was written as if it’s an entry in the diary of a 2-year-old and starts off at the beginning of his day.

“Today I woke up and wanted to get dressed by myself but was told ‘No, we don’t have time, let me do it.’ This made me sad,” the diary says. “I wanted to feed myself for breakfast but was told ‘No, you’re too messy, let me do it for you.’ This made me feel frustrated.”

Next, the toddler simply tried to get in the car by himself but was told, “No, we need to get going, we don’t have time. Let me do it.” That made him cry, but he still tried to get out of the car by himself when they arrived at daycare. However, again he was told “No, we don’t have time, let me do it,” and made to feel like he wanted to run away.

Later, he tried to play with the blocks, but other kids said no and wanted to do their way. That ruined blocks for him, so instead, he tried to play with a doll that someone else had. “I took it, I was told ‘no, don’t do that, you have to share.’ I’m not sure what I did, but it made me sad,” the diary entry says. “So, I cried. I wanted a hug but was told ‘no, you’re fine, go play.'”

Then “pick-up time” comes, but this little guy isn’t exactly sure what the adults want him to do. “I am waiting for someone to show me … ‘What are you doing, why are you just standing there, pick up your toys … Now,'” he wrote. “I was not allowed to dress myself or move my own body to get to where I needed to go, but now I am being asked to pick things up.”

Feeling overwhelmed about where to start, where things go, and just what to do, this 2-year-old can’t help but start crying. “When it was time to eat, I wanted to get my own food but was told ‘no, you’re too little, let me do it.’ This made me feel small,” the diary says. “I tried to eat the food in front of me, but I did not put it there and someone keeps saying ‘here, try this, eat this…’ and putting things in my face. I didn’t want to eat anymore. This made me want to throw things and cry.”

At this point, the little one is feeling tired, hungry, scared, frustrated, and sad — yet the adults don’t realize it or understand why:

“I am 2. No one will let me dress myself, no one will let me move my own body where it needs to go, no one will let me attend to my own needs.

However, I am expected to know how to share, ‘listen’ or ‘wait a minute.’ I am expected to know what to say and how to act or handle my emotions. I am expected to sit still or know that if I throw something it might break …. But I do NOT know these things.

I am not allowed to practice my skills of walking, pushing, pulling, zipping, buttoning, pouring, serving, climbing, running, throwing or doing things that I know I can do. Things that interest me and make me curious, these are the things I am NOT allowed to do.

I am 2. I am not terrible … I am frustrated. I am nervous, stressed out, overwhelmed, and confused. I need a hug.”

So, the next time you get frustrated with your toddlers’ tears or confused about why they’re melting down, please remember this anonymous author and his or her words: You aren’t the only one having a hard day.


Breast and Cervical Cancer Program:

Are you worried because you don’t have insurance and think you can’t afford breast and cervical cancer screenings? We might be able to help. Call your county health department for more information.

Roll In , Roll Down, Roll Out!

Several health departments are planning drive thru flu clinics this fall. This is a great way to make sure you are protected from the flu.  In addition, these exercises serve as practice in case our communities had to respond to a disaster situation with mass dispensing of medications.  Please come and drive thru even if you don’t need your flu vaccine.  Help your community be prepared!



August is National Immunization Awareness Month

DeAnna Brown, Immunization Coordinator

During National Immunization Awareness Month, our Immunization Coordinator, DeAnna Brown, would like to remind everyone to make sure your family’s vaccines are up-to-date. For more information, please visit  Call your local health department or physician’s office to schedule needed vaccines today!

Megan Brantley, Emergency Preparedness Training Coordinator

Bleckley Open Point Of Dispensing Exercise

Friday, June 21st from 10 am to 1pm

Location: Heartland EMS (256 Lucas Road, Cochran, GA)

Kelly Knight  (3rd from left) and Stacey Upshaw (4th from left) attend the 2019 Association of Public Health Nurses Conference

Nursing Director, Kelly Knight, and Assistant Nursing Director, Stacey Upshaw, are attending the 2019 Association of Public Health Nurses Conference in Atlanta this week.

The Conference Learning Outcomes include:

  • Demonstrate how public health agencies can incorporate principles of Public Health 3.0 and social determinants of health into their workforce training programs.
  • Describe strategies and emerging practices to develop nurse leaders who promote building a culture of health in their communities.
  • Discuss ways in which academic partners are integrating social determinants, equity, and culture of health concepts into nursing curricula.
  • Describe strategies for public health departments to form active cross-sector partnerships with community stakeholders.
  • Explore efforts through which public health partners can develop and assess prevention initiatives targeting social determinants of health and health equity.
  • Discuss evaluation strategies for primary prevention initiatives at the community level.
  • Discuss ways in which communities have incorporated a health in all policies approach at the community systems level to advance health equity.
  • Explore innovative models for organizational funding of expanding public health core infrastructure and community work.
  • Discuss emerging practices to address the environmental and human health consequences of climate change.

We are very proud of the outstanding work performed by our many great nurses! 

Shown above: Melissa Brantley, Health Promotion Coordinator for South Central Health District

Diabetes Self -Management Education and Support

If you are one of the millions of people living with diabetes, we have good news to help you live a better quality of life. Participating in a self-management education (SME) program can help you learn skills to manage your diabetes more effectively by checking blood sugar regularly, eating healthy food, being active, taking medicines as prescribed, and handling stress.

Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support (DSMES) services provide information and skills for people to manage their diabetes and related conditions. DSMES is tailored to your individual needs, goals, and life experiences and is guided by evidence-based standards. You’ll learn how to eat healthy, be physically active, monitor blood sugar levels, take medication, problem solve, reduce risk for other health conditions, cope with the emotional side of diabetes, and improve your health and quality of life. DSMES is led by a diabetes educator like a registered nurse, registered dietician, or pharmacist.
It’s important to receive DSMES services when you’re first diagnosed. There are three other times DSMES can help you manage your diabetes that include at your yearly follow-up visits with your doctor, if health complications arise, and when changes in your care occur.

Topics include:
• Understanding diabetes and diabetes treatment.
• Healthy eating.
• Being physically active.
• Taking medicine.
• Checking your blood sugar.
• Reducing your risk for other health problems.
• Learning to cope with stress, depression, and other concerns.

Your doctor may refer you to a specific program. For more information on a local program, contact Melissa Brantley at 478-275-6545. 

Children’s Medical Services/Children 1st

Children & Youth with Special Needs Programs

Children & Youth with Special Needs Programs began in 1935 when congress passed the Social Security Act. Title V of the Social Security Act provides funding to states to provide public healthcare programs to children and youth with special needs.

Programs Offered That Your Child Might Qualify For:

  • Children 1st(Birth – 5 Years Old)
  • Children’s Medical Services (Birth – 21 Years Old)

Children 1st:

Children 1st is a free tracking and monitoring program offered by the state of Georgia. The Children 1st staff collaborates with local pediatricians and is able to monitor the health and development of every child enrolled in the program through their regular doctor’s visits. Children 1st sends periodic tracking letter to the pediatricians of each child enrolled. When the pediatrician responds with a concern for a child, the Children 1st staff attempts to contact the family. This program is to ensure that each family gets the resources needed for its unique situation.

Children 1st is the single point of entry for all the Children & Youth with Special Needs Programs. If you think your child qualifies for one of our programs, you can make a referral to Children 1st and your child will be placed in the most appropriate program for him or her.

All children from birth to age five who face situations that have the potential to hinder their growth and development are eligible. These situations can be social or medical.

Children’s Medical Services:

Children’s Medical Services is a public health program that provides medical care and financial assistance to children with disabling conditions or chronic illnesses.

There is a wide variety of conditions covered through CMS.

Some of these conditions include:

  • Asthma
  • Diabetes
  • Sickle Cell Disease
  • Neurological Disorders including epilepsy
  • Orthopedic and/or Neuromuscular disorders including Cerebral Palsy
  • Hearing Disorders
  • Visual Disorders

Children from birth to 21 years old are eligible for this program.

CMS is able to help pay for any equipment, medicines and doctor’s visits pertaining to a child’s qualifying medical diagnosis.

If you know of a child that might qualify for the Children 1st program or the Children’s Medical Services program, please call Cathy Moore or Kerrie Fountain to make a referral.

Once the referral is made, the staff at Children’s Medical and Children 1st will immediately start the enrollment process.

The Children’s Medical Services and Children 1st Staff are more than happy to help with anything! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call!!

Children’s Medical Services/Children 1st

2505 Bellevue Road

Dublin, GA 31021


Fax: (478) 275-5117

Meet our Emergency
Preparedness and Response Team!

Front Row: (L) Megan Craft, (R) Megan Brantley

Back Row: Left to right: Nichole Evans, Jennifer Stokes, Jodi Bazemore, and Jill Bracewell

…and below one of our great nurses:  Stacey Upshaw RN, MSN

The mission of the Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR) team is to assure the health and well-being of individuals in the ten counties in our district by preparing for, responding to and recovering from events of public health significance.

Planning and response includes all hazards that pose a risk to the health and well-being of our district; support outside of our district when called upon for assistance; support of our regional health care coalition to prepare for and respond to medical surge events; working together with our community health care organizations.

EPR leads efforts related to Emergency Support Function 8 (Health and Medical) and support Emergency Support Function 6 (Mass Care) by providing technical assistance and guidance as well as communication and logistics to support communities during times of disaster or emergency.

We appreciate the hard work of this group!  Thanks for keeping us all safe!

A Message from the Health Director…

Welcome to the website for the South Central Health District, the local ten-county representative of the Georgia Department of Public Health serving Bleckley, Dodge, Johnson, Laurens, Montgomery, Pulaski, Telfair, Treutlen, Wheeler, and Wilcox counties. Our mission is to prevent disease, promote better health, and ensure that families have the resources they need to prepare for and respond to health emergencies caused by flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes, and even acts of bioterrorism or outbreaks of infectious disease.  WE PROTECT LIVES!

Every day more than 135+ dedicated public health employees throughout our district are working to protect YOU!  We provide testing of every newborn for life-threatening conditions; we inspect the restaurants you dine in; we inspect the public swimming pools you swim in to make sure they are safe.  Additionally, we offer both childhood and adult vaccinations to guard against many life-ending or life-altering diseases.  Each year during flu season, our flu immunization program protects you and your families at work and at school.  We promote smoking cessation to fight chronic lung disease and heart disease.  We provide women with screening for breast cancer and cervical cancer.  We have programs to encourage exercise and healthy eating to combat childhood obesity among our young people.  As a new initiative of the Georgia Department of Public Health, we are providing programs that encourage “Early Brain Development” in infants and children age birth to 2 years, realizing this is the foundation of a healthier, educated, prosperous future for Georgia—and it all starts with language and talking with (and reading to) your baby from birth.

We also have public health employees and practitioners working to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs)—and we are doing more to link people to the specialty care needed for these diseases.  We provide Health Promotion and Education to prevent or minimize the effects of hypertension and diabetes through nutrition and weight management programs.

Lastly, we are collaborating like never before with other programs and agencies (such as EMS, CDC, local and state government, schools/academic institutions, and various healthcare institutions through our Regional Healthcare Coalition) to prepare for disaster-related health implications such as hurricane sheltering, flooding, and potential mass treatments for epidemics or bioterrorism.  The South Central Health District even helped with our district’s first-ever hurricane impact in October 2018!

Georgia Public Health feels that people enjoy longer and happier lives when they live healthy lives in healthy families and in healthy communities.  We at the South Central Health District want to provide the resources to achieve this for every resident of–and visitor to–our ten-county district.  Please feel free to peruse our website to learn more about the many services and programs that we offer.

Thomas E. Craft, Jr., M.D.

District Health Director, South Central Health District

Georgia Department of Public Health

Need Data and Statistics?

The Georgia Department of Public Health has two ways to access Georgia’s public health data:

Find Your County Health Department

Upcoming Events Calendar

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Restaurant Inspection Scores

View the most recent scores for restaurants in the district. Search by keyword, establishment name, city, zip code, or county. Click here to begin your search.

Form Finder

Download and print district forms in PDF format. Select a category below.