Healthy people, families, and communities.


Dec. 21, 2021

Omicron Spread and Prevention Measures for Holiday Gatherings

Atlanta – The Georgia Department of Public Health is urging Georgians to carefully follow COVID-19 prevention measures during holiday celebrations and gatherings to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

COVID case numbers are increasing daily, and the Omicron variant is spreading faster than any previous variant.

Surveillance for COVID variants is done through genomic sequencing of PCR positive test results. In Georgia, the most recent genomic sequencing is from week ending Dec. 4, and at that time, the Delta variant was responsible for 98% of new COVID cases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) uses genomic sequencing data to project current variant proportions and now estimates Omicron accounts for more than 73% of new COVID cases in the United States. Given the rapid transmissibility of the Omicron variant, the current proportion of Omicron in Georgia is likely similar to that of the national estimate, and presumably will account for all new COVID cases in the state in the coming weeks. 

Regardless of the variant, mitigation and prevention measures for COVID-19 are the same. To help prevent transmission and to reduce your risk of exposure DPH recommends:

  • Get a COVID vaccination and booster dose.
  • For young children who aren't yet eligible for the COVID vaccine, reduce the risk of exposure by making sure the people around them are vaccinated.
  • Wear well-fitting masks over your nose and mouth in public indoor settings.
  • Physically distance, about six feet, around people outside of your own household.
  • Avoid crowded, poorly ventilated spaces and remember that outdoor activities are safer than indoor activities.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available.
  • If you are sick or have symptoms of COVID-19, don’t host or attend a gathering.
  • Follow CDC recommendations for holiday travel.
  • Get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have a close contact with someone who has COVID-19.

Testing is critically important to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. If you have symptoms or had a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, you should be tested, regardless of your vaccination status. Consider getting a COVID test before gathering indoors with others to determine if you’re positive for COVID and to reduce the risk of spreading infection. If you test positive, you should isolate and inform close contacts. A negative test result indicates either you are not infected or that you are at low risk of spreading disease to others, even though it does not necessarily rule out an infection.

To find a COVID vaccine or COVID testing location near you log on to

For updates on COVID-19, follow @GaDPH and @GovKemp on Twitter and @GaDPH and @GovKemp on Facebook.

Nancy Nydam
Director of Communications
Georgia Department of Public Health
2 Peachtree Street, N.E., 15th Floor
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
(404) 657-2462
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Please note this list of dates and times when our County Health Departments will briefly close for staff meetings. Thank you!

Brief Closing Times at Health Depts

CDC 16 to 17 year olds get boosters
Per the attached press announcement from the FDA, the listed CDC online guidance link, and the following statement from CDC Director Dr. Walensky, please note that booster shots to everyone 16 and older who has reached the recommended time since completing their primary series are available on a no-appointment-needed basis during clinic hours at our County Health Departments in the North Georgia Health District - click to our homepage to find clinic hours and locations for the health departments in our six counties.
Media Statement

For Immediate Release: Thursday, December 09, 2021
Contact: Media Relations
(404) 639-3286

Download this pdf file. FDA News Release expanded booster approval.pdf

Download this pdf file. CDC Website: COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shots

The following is attributable to CDC Director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky

“Today, CDC is strengthening its booster recommendations and encouraging everyone 16 and older to receive a booster shot. Although we don’t have all the answers on the Omicron variant, initial data suggests that COVID-19 boosters help broaden and strengthen the protection against Omicron and other variants. We know that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, and I strongly encourage adolescents ages 16 and 17 to get their booster if they are at least 6 months post their initial Pfizer vaccination series.”

At this time, only the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is authorized and recommended for adolescents aged 16 and 17. More information will be available on CDC’s website soon.


CDC works 24/7 protecting America’s health, safety and security. Whether disease start at home or abroad, are curable or preventable, chronic or acute, or from human activity or deliberate attack, CDC responds to America’s most pressing health threats. CDC is headquartered in Atlanta and has experts located throughout the United States and the world.

A pile of colorful plastic jewelryProtect children from exposure to lead in metal and plastic toys, especially some imported toys, antique toys, and toy jewelry. Childhood lead exposure is preventable.

Many children get toys and toy jewelry as gifts during the holiday season. Some toys, especially some imported toys, antique toys, and toy jewelry may contain lead. Although lead is invisible to the naked eye and has no smell, exposure to lead can seriously harm a child’s health. Young children tend to put their hands, toys, or other objects―which may be made of lead or contaminated with lead or lead dust―into their mouths. If you have a small child in your household, make sure the child does not have access to toys, jewelry, or other items that may contain lead.

Lead in Toys

Lead may be found in the paint, metal, and plastic parts of some toys and toy jewelry, particularly those made in other countries, and also antique toys and collectibles.

  • In 2008, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) pdf icon[PDF – 118 KB]external icon was signed into law, requiring toys and infant products to be tested to mandatory standards before being sold.
  • The use of lead in plastics has not been banned. Lead softens plastic, making a toy more flexible to return to its original shape. Lead may also be used in plastic toys to stabilize molecules from heat.
  • Lead dust can form on toys when some plastics are exposed to sunlight, air, and detergents that break down the chemical bond between the lead and plastics.
  • Lead also may be combined with other metals, such as tin, to create alloys that are used to make toys.

To reduce children’s risk for lead exposure, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) tests and issues recalls of current products that may potentially expose children to lead. Check the CPSC websiteexternal icon or call 1 (800) 638-2272 to be sure your child’s toys are safe. You can find photos and descriptions of currently recalled toys on that website. For additional information on lead in toys, visit the CDC Lead website

Protect children from exposure to lead in metal and plastic toys, especially imported toys, antique toys, and toy jewelry.


Protect children from exposure to lead in metal and plastic toys, especially imported toys, antique toys, and toy jewelry.

How Can I Test a toy for lead?

Only a certified laboratory can accurately determine how much lead is in a toy. Although do-it-yourself kits indicating the presence of lead are available, they do not show how much lead is present and their reliability at detecting low levels of lead has not been determined.

What should I do if I am concerned about my child’s exposure to lead in a toy?

If you think your child has been exposed to a toy containing lead, or if your child has a recalled toy, take away the toy immediately and contact your child’s healthcare provider. Most children who are exposed to lead have no symptoms. A blood lead test is the easiest way to find out if your child has been exposed to lead. Your child’s healthcare provider can help you decide whether a blood lead test is needed and can recommend appropriate follow-up actions if your child has been exposed. As levels of lead in the blood increase, adverse effects from lead may also increase.

To be sure your child’s toys are safe, check the Consumer Products Safety Commission list of recalled toysexternal icon.



To be sure your child’s toys are safe, check the Consumer Products Safety Commission list of recalled toysexternal icon.

Lead in Toy Jewelry

What are the effects of wearing toy jewelry?

Just wearing toy jewelry that contains lead will not cause your child to have a high level of lead in their blood. However, chewing, sucking on or swallowing toy jewelry that contains lead will expose your child to lead. Make sure children in your home do not have access to jewelry or other items that may contain lead.

What should I do if I think my child put lead jewelry in his or her mouth?

If you think your child put jewelry containing lead in his or her mouth, take the jewelry away from your child and contact your child’s healthcare provider. Your child’s healthcare provider can help you decide whether a blood lead test is needed and can recommend appropriate follow-up actions if your child has been exposed. Many private insurance policies cover the cost of testing for blood lead, and blood lead testing for children enrolled in Medicaid is covered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). For additional information on local resources, contact the childhood lead poisoning prevention program in your area. If your state’s resources are not listed on this website, contact your local or state health department.

No safe blood lead level in children has been identified. Even low levels of lead in blood have been shown to affect IQ, the ability to pay attention, and academic achievement.

The good news is that childhood lead exposure is preventable.