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North GA - 
Due to the potential for severe weather, the MAKO Medical COVID-19 Drive-thru Test sites in Dalton and Woodstock will be closed all day Thursday, May 26, 2022.
All updates for the drive-thru test sites are posted here on the health district website and on our social media pages at Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Damaris Landaverde RN presented with Maggie Kline Nursing AwardDamaris Landaverde, RN, was presented with the Maggie Kline Nursing Award by Dr. Chris Rustin, DPH Acting Deputy Commissioner, at GPHA’s 92nd annual conference.Jasper, GA – Damaris Landaverde, RN, public health nurse for the Pickens County Health Department, was presented with the Maggie Kline Nursing Award by the Georgia Public Health Association (GPHA) at their annual conference held recently at Jekyll Island.

The award honors Maggie Kline who for years coordinated the continuing education program for public health nurses in Georgia.

GPHA annually presents the award to recognize a new public health nurse or a public health nurse specialist who exceptionally fulfills the nursing role in service delivery to public health clients and families.

The Pickens County Health Department and North Georgia Health District are proud to affirm that Ms. Damaris is a truly deserving recipient of this year’s award and congratulate her for this honor.

The GPHA award biography that was included in the Maggie Kline Nursing Award presentation stated:

Damaris Landaverde began her nursing career in August 2021 at the Pickens County Health Department shortly after completing Nursing School. Prior to attending nursing school, Damaris worked within the WIC program for Public Health.

Damaris is a new nurse with the drive and desire to become a well-trained Public Health Nurse and if the first 6 months of her nursing career is any indication as to what she will be able to accomplish over the years to come, Public Health will be blessed to have her as part of the Public Health Nursing Section.

Dr Elam poses with AwardDr. Elam poses with his District 1-2 TB Team, Tammy Bowling, Public Health Nurse Consultant, and Irma Sandoval, Infectious Disease Admin. AssistantDalton, GA – The North Georgia Health District congratulates Dr. Mark Elam for receiving the Sellers-McCroan Award this year at the Georgia Public Health Association (GPHA) Conference, held earlier in May at Jekyll Island.

GPHA presents the Sellers-McCroan Award annually to a nominated public health professional who deserves recognition and encouragement for outstanding achievement and service to Georgians in epidemiology and/or laboratory services.

Dr. Elam is certainly deserving of this award in full measure as he compassionately serves the people of north Georgia.

The following is the GPHA award biography that was included in the Sellers-McCroan Award presentation:

Dr. Mark Elam is a well-known name in Public Health in the North and Northeast Georgia Health Districts due to his 26 years of dedicated public health service along with his leadership roles in multiple health care facilities and his inspiring passion for serving the community.

Dr. Elam is a 1986 graduate of the University of Tennessee Medical School and he completed his residency in Internal Medicine at the Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Washington in 1989. He served in the U.S. Army from 1982-1993 and was discharged with the rank of Major. Dr. Elam worked for seven years in private practice during which time he began volunteering for the Medical Access Clinic at the Whitfield County Health Department. While providing primary care for low-income adults in this clinic, Dr. Elam found his calling to public health.

In 2002, Dr. Elam assDr_Elam_Award_close_shot.pngGPHA Sellers-McCroan Award Presented to Dr. Elamumed the role as Medical Director for both the Medical Access Clinic at the health department and for the District 1-2 HIV Living Bridge Clinic. From there, he added the duties of District 1-2 Tuberculosis Program Medical Consultant in 2008 and Medical Director for the District 1-1 HIV Clinic and District 1-2 Travel Clinic Medical Consultant in 2014.

Over the years, Dr. Elam has served as the President of Georgia Medical Directors (2004-2006), Chairman of the NW Georgia Healthcare Partnership (2006-2008), Board Member of Hamilton Health Care Systems (2001-2007) and Medical Director of multiple nursing homes and hospice facilities (2004-2021). In July 2019, Dr. Elam was appointed as a Clinical Assistant Professor for the Medical College of Georgia, training upcoming physicians at Hamilton Medical Center.

Dr. Elam has been married to his lovely wife, Ellen, for 38 years and has two daughters and two grandchildren. In his spare time, Dr. Elam enjoys traveling, running, cheering on the UT Vols and spending time with his family and friends.

Free at home COVID 19 tests from COVID.govNorth Georgia – Testing for COVID-19 is still critical to continue reducing the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, and now those tests are even more readily available.

Free COVID-19 At-Home Test Kits are provided by the federal government in partnership with the United States Postal Service (USPS). Every household in the U.S. is eligible to order the free COVID-19 home tests and have them delivered straight to their door.

To order, go to If help is needed with placing an order, call 1-800-232-0233 to be assisted in either English or Spanish. Anyone with a hearing impairment who needs assistance may use TTY 1-888-720-7489.

Here is what to expect after placing an order:

  • Each order currently includes 8 rapid antigen COVID-19 tests
  • An order of 8 tests will come in 2 separate packages (4 tests in each package), each with its own tracking number
  • Packages will ship free

Here are reasons to test for COVID-19:

  • If experiencing COVID-19 symptoms
  • It is at least 5 days after a known or suspected close contact to COVID-19
  • For screening (schools, workplaces, congregate settings, etc.)
  • To protect before and after travel
  • When asked by a healthcare professional or public health official to do so

Go to to order the free COVID-19 At-Home Test Kits without delay.