DPH Working to Identify and Prevent Coronavirus in Georgia

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is closely monitoring the outbreak of  2019-nCoV (coronavirus) occurring in China and regularly coordinating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. DPH has not confirmed any novel coronavirus cases to date, however the situation could change.

DPH is advising healthcare providers statewide to be alert for patients who have traveled from Wuhan, China and present with fever and respiratory symptoms. The Department sent out a detailed medical advisory to healthcare providers on reporting, testing, specimen collection and healthcare infection control recommendations for potential coronavirus cases. Healthcare providers who suspect 2019-nCoV infection in a patient should report them immediately to DPH by calling 1-866-PUB-HLTH (1-866-782-4584).

There currently are two confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States (Illinois and Washington) and more cases are expected. The CDC says the overall risk of coronavirus to the general public is low, but the best way to prevent infection of any 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

For more information about coronavirus, log on to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html. Guidance for travelers can be found at https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/watch/novel-coronavirus-china.

Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV): Guidance for Clinicians 


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DPH Commissioner

Kathleen E. Toomey, M.D., M.P.H., was appointed commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health by Governor Brian Kemp in March 2019. As commissioner, Dr. Toomey oversees 159 county health departments in 18 health districts, and various public health programs.

Before her appointment to commissioner, Dr. Toomey served as Director of the Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness. She led the department’s transition to become the Fulton County Board of Health and continuing as district health director until December 2018.

An epidemiologist and board-certified family practitioner, Dr. Toomey’s career in public health is long and distinguished, holding key leadership positions with the State of Georgia and both national and international leadership positions with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). She served as the CDC’s Country Director in Botswana. In addition to other leadership positions with the CDC, Dr. Toomey previously served as the Director of the Division of Public Health with the Georgia Department of Human Resources.

Dr. Toomey earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Smith College. As a Fulbright Scholar, she studied indigenous healing practices in Peru. Dr. Toomey earned her M.D. and M.P.H. degrees from Harvard University. In 1985, Dr. Toomey was selected as a Pew Health Policy Research Fellow at the Institute for Health Policy Studies at the University of California, San Francisco. While in San Francisco, she served on committees looking at the initial cases of emergent HIV. 

News Releases

Widespread Flu in Georgia

December 17, 2019

ATLANTA –  If you have not gotten a flu shot yet, do not wait any longer. Flu is widespread throughout Georgia.