Congratulating Sharia Hudson, DPH’s New Food Safety Consultant!

We are wishing all of our Food Safety partners a nice and safe Memorial Day weekend.  When our Environmental Health operations resume after Memorial Day, we will be minus one of our seasoned Environmentalists–Sharia Hudson, MPH.  Sharia will be starting a new position with the Georgia Department of Public Health as a Food Safety Consultant.  We wanted to make you aware of this change as Sharia has worked with many of you while conducting hundreds of food service inspections in both Cobb County and Douglas County and providing numerous Food Safety trainings.  This opportunity arose just as she was completing a fellowship with the International Food Protection Training Institute [IFPTI], and she is deserving of a big CONGRATULATIONS!

We wish Sharia the best and appreciate her impact on Public Health while a part of Cobb & Douglas Public Health!

TIME SENSITIVE: Revitalization Funds for GA Food and Beverage Industry

The U. S. Small Business Administration is offering emergency monetary awards from $1,000 to $10 million per applicant for qualifying businesses that are not permanently closed wherein the public/patrons assemble for the purpose of being served food and/or drink.  The awards are provided through the Restaurant Revitalization Fund that was established through the American Rescue Plan Act in March 2021.  The funds may be used for business expenses, business debt, or construction of outdoor seating.  If you’re interested in this opportunity, calculate your potential fund amount and apply as soon as possible.  The application deadline is May 31, 2021. Click here for more information.

Updated COVID-19 Measures in Georgia

Although the Governor’s latest Executive Order (EO) regarding COVID-19 has relaxed many of the precautionary measures that were in place, please continue to exercise caution as stated in the EO.  [See pages 10 and 11 for quick reference to restaurant and bar guidelines.]

As of today, approximately 25% of Georgia residents have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19, so herd immunity has not been reached at this point.  Although it is not mandated in the order, all residents and visitors to Georgia are strongly encouraged to use face coverings and socially distance when warranted. To assist you with decision making regarding face coverings, the CDC has produced a useful infographic entitled Choosing Safer Activities

Stay safe!

Employee Health Achiever: What Is It and How to Become One

By Courtney Casterline, Environmental Health Intern

If you haven’t heard of the Employee Health Achiever’s (EHA) program in the past, now is your chance. The Employee Health Achievers campaign is designed to help ensure that there is a proper understanding and implementation of an employee health policy among the food service operators in our district. Understanding and implementing an effective employee health policy is critical for minimizing the occurrence of diseases spread through food in food service establishments.

Becoming an EHA is easy! Plus, your establishment receives an attractive certificate for posting and is recognized on our website! Here’s how to do it:

To become an EHA, the person in charge of the establishment must show proof of providing–and employees acknowledging- an Employee Health Agreement, that includes the five required parts (signs and symptoms of disease, the six diseases reportable to the local health authority, when to restrict food workers, when to exclude food workers, and when workers may return to work) which will be confirmed during your routine inspection. Lastly, the person in charge must complete and score a 100% on the Employee Health Achiever’s quiz accessed through our website!

Being an Employee Health Achiever signifies that your establishment understands the implementation of the employee health rules and has a verified operational employee health policy showing management’s commitment to food safety and the prevention of food-borne illnesses throughout our district.

May ServSafe Class in Cobb County

Cobb & Douglas Public Health has added an additional ServSafe course to help meet the ongoing demand for classes.  It will be presented Tuesday and Wednesday, May 11-12th from 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM at the Marietta Health Center, 1738 County Services Pkwy, Marietta, GA 30008 in the 2nd Floor Training Room of Building B.  If you would like to reserve a seat in the class, please submit your registration form as soon as possible due to limited seating capacity.

The Six Still Exist!

Salmonella typhi

By Eboni Waters, EHS3

We understand these times have been chaotic and difficult as we continue to work toward eliminating the spread of COVID-19. During this time, we should continue to monitor for symptoms of COVID 19 along with monitoring for symptoms of foodborne illness.  Management as well as food workers should know the employee health reporting requirements.

Let’s review!

The Big Six Illnesses Reportable by the Person-in-Charge to the Health Department:

Hepatitis A

Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC)

Norovirus

Shigella spp.

Salmonella Typhi

Nontyphoidal Salmonella.

Five Reportable Symptoms:

  • Jaundice – a yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Infected wounds
  • Sore throat with fever

Lastly, ensure you report any employees diagnosed with one of the Big Six illnesses to your local health department.

To assist food service operators in managing an effective employee health policy, the Georgia Department of Public Health offers the following resources:

Employee Health RED Book (English)

Employee Health RED Book (Spanish)

Employee Health RED Book (Simplified Chinese)

NOW AVAILABLE: CDPH COVID-19 Vaccination Newsletter

To stay current on the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine in our district, please visit the “COVID Vaccine” page of the Cobb & Douglas Public Health website to sign up for our vaccine newsletter.  This will be the best way to make sure you are notified when food service workers and other qualifying groups become eligible to receive the vaccine. This page also provides additional information and resources related to the COVID-19 vaccine that can be shared with your staff.

While the public health focus is shifting to vaccinations, free COVID-19 testing is still available by registering at the following link:

http://www.cdphcovid19testing.org/

Links to all of CDPH’s resources related to COVID-19 can be found on our Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) webpage.

Infographic of Updated COVID-19 Quarantine Guidance

If you have been a close contact of someone that has been diagnosed with COVID-19, there are now three quarantine options that may be utilized to protect those around you from potential coronavirus exposure. The full details of these options can be found here, but the graphic above may be a more convenient reference.

Please keep in mind, that these quarantine options are only available to close contacts that are not exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. If you are experiencing symptoms of this illness, it is critical that you isolate yourself and follow current isolation guidelines.

And if you think you may have COVID-19, free testing is available at many convenient testing sites across the state. You may register for a free test here:

https://covid19.dph.ga.gov/en-US/

Free “Winter Break” Meal Kits for Children 18 and Under

Marietta City Schools has been authorized to by the U. S. Department of Agriculture to provide FREE meals to keep children fed during the first week of Winter Break.  ANYONE 18 and under is eligible to receive a 7-Day Meal Kit [which includes 7 breakfasts and 7 lunches] by pre-ordering by noon Wednesday, December 16th.  Meals will be available for pick-up on Friday between 8 AM and 1 PM at Marietta High School (1171 Whitlock Avenue) and Marietta Sixth Grade Academy (340 Aviation Rd).  The links to pre-order the 7-Day Meal Kits are:

English: https://t.co/D2W8N7nBT2

Spanish: https://t.co/Np82HPdWMD

Meal Kit Flyer (English and Spanish)

Please share this opportunity with anyone that may benefit.

Updated COVID-19 Return to Work and Quarantine Guidance

The public health Return to Work Guidance and the Quarantine Guidance have both been updated to reflect the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changes for close contacts. This includes a change to the quarantine period for those that do not live in congregate settings [such as group homes, dormitories, detention centers, etc.] to 7 days (with a negative PCR or antigen test collected on or after Day 5 AND asymptomatic) OR 10 days (without a test AND asymptomatic).  As always, all close contacts should monitor their symptoms for the 14 day period following exposure.  If symptoms develop, the close contact MUST self-isolate immediately.  Testing is still available for all symptomatic individuals.