Editorial roundup: Georgia | Daily Times Center

Brunswick News. July 15, 2022.

Editorial: State should continue Hogan’s quest to improve mental health care

When State Rep. Don Hogan, R-St. Simons Island pinch for former state Rep. Alex Atwood Monday at the Golden Isles Republican Women’s Club meeting, the occasion offered a chance for the incumbent lawmaker to discuss his tenure.

Hogan chose not to run for re-election, and his District 179 seat will be filled by Rick Townsend after winning the Republican runoff in the primary. There is no Democratic challenger for Townsend to face in November.

If Townsend is as effective as Hogan during his tenure, it’s safe to say the islands are in good hands. Hogan has been a successful lawmaker since taking office in 2017. His best work, however, only fully materialized this year.

Hogan has been a strong advocate for changing how the state uses its mental health services. Georgia has been at the very bottom of the pack when it comes to providing mental services to people who need them — last to be exact.

Hogan helped pass legislation during this year’s session to address the state’s mental health crisis. Among other things, the bill allows the state to require people with a mental health problem to take their prescribed medications, allowing law enforcement to take people suspected of having a mental health problem to a facility for assessment and to strengthen measures designed to keep people with mental health and addictions. issues of abuse outside prison, among others.

Recent tragedies in the country have shed even more light on how we deal with mental health. Previously, it was considered a weakness to talk about these issues. Times have changed and we now know how important it is not to be silent on these issues.

Suicide remains a major health problem. It’s one of the leading causes of death in America with nearly 46,000 people dying by suicide in 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The statistics on those who have considered suicide are even more astonishing with 12.2 million people saying they have seriously thought about it. More than three million have made a suicide plan and 1.2 million have actually attempted it.

Some people in mental health crisis don’t hurt themselves but focus their rage on others. That’s why it’s important for all of us to be aware of the warning signs such as excessive fear or worry, excessive sadness, trouble concentrating, mood swings, and others that a person going through a mental crisis might manifest. For more information on potential warning signs, visit www.nami.org.

The only way to address mental health issues is to address them head-on. We appreciate the work Rep. Hogan has done on this issue. Hopefully the changes will help Georgians in crisis get the help they need.

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Dalton Daily Citizen. July 19, 2022.

Editorial: COVID cases are rising across the country – use common sense approaches to stay safe and healthy

Chances are you know someone who has or recently had COVID-19.

The newer, more highly transmissible strain of the virus, known as BA.5, quickly spread across the country and is now the dominant version in the United States. Murray and Whitfield counties are at the medium level for COVID transmission, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At the mid stage, which is a step towards the high stage, the CDC suggests:

• If you are at high risk of serious illness, ask your healthcare professional if you should wear a mask and take other precautions.

• Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines.

• Get tested if you have symptoms.

Thanks to vaccines, treatments and immunity from previous infections, we are far from the untenable situation of having over 70 people hospitalized with COVID at Hamilton Medical Center as we had previously during the pandemic.

As of Wednesday, Hamilton Medical Center had nine people hospitalized with COVID-19, seven of whom were unvaccinated; two were in the intensive care unit, both unvaccinated, and one was on a ventilator. On Monday, 16 people were hospitalized, including 11 unvaccinated; one unvaccinated patient was in intensive care; and there were no ventilator patients.

Despite improved conditions surrounding COVID compared to a year ago, health officials are urging the public not to let their guard down.

“Residents should continue to be vigilant about getting all of their COVID-19 vaccines and maintaining hygiene practices that help prevent catching or spreading viruses, including washing hands, covering coughing and sneezing, staying home if they are sick and even wearing a mask if they are in an area where transmission of COVID-19 is more likely, for example if they travel to an area where the level of transmission is medium to high,” said Jennifer King, public information officer for North Georgia Health District 1-2, which includes Whitfield and Murray counties.

COVID-19 vaccines are available for children 6 months and older, and booster shots are available for people 5 years and older. The CDC recommends adults 50 and older get two booster shots, as do people 12 and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised. For more information, go to cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/booster-shot.html. Visit nghd.org to find clinic times and locations. Vaccines and boosters are free.

King added: “Beyond vaccination, testing for COVID-19 is the other most important thing people can do to avoid spreading the virus, and getting tested has never been easier. thanks to the advent of free home test kits.”

You can go to covid.gov/tests or call (800) 232-0233 to get free test kits.

We are not suggesting blanket lockdowns. We do not suggest universal masking.

We suggest using common sense approaches to help mitigate this recent COVID surge.

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