Dalton Daily Citizen-News. January 18, 2022.
Editorial: Expansion of free COVID testing program in North Georgia comes at an important time
As the omicron COVID-19 variant burns through the country, many people attempting to get tested for the virus have found long lines at testing sites or bare shelves at pharmacies while searching for at-home tests.
Beginning Wednesday, 500 million free at-home COVID tests will be available to Americans as part of the Biden administration’s plan to increase testing. Each household can order four at-home tests at covidtests.gov. The kits will be mailed to homes within seven to 12 days through the U.S. Postal Service. There are no shipping costs and you don’t need to enter a credit card number.
In the meantime, local COVID testing sites have increased their testing parameters as well.
MAKO Medical is now offering free COVID-19 drive-thru testing in Chatsworth each Monday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The testing site, at the Murray County Recreation Department at 651 Hyden Tyler Road, has operated on Mondays since last September.
“However, the greater demand for testing, due to the recent surge of COVID-19 cases, required an extra day of operation each week in Chatsworth to make it easier for residents to get free testing locally,” according to the North Georgia Health District.
MAKO Medical COVID-19 drive-thru testing sites in Dalton and Woodstock are now open Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in addition to the time these sites operate each Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Due to the currently high volumes of people coming to the Woodstock testing site it is recommended to arrive there by 1:30 p.m. on weekdays and by 11:30 a.m. on Saturdays to ensure testing before closing time.
Additional MAKO Medical COVID-19 drive-thru testing sites in North Georgia are in Blue Ridge, Ellijay and Jasper. Addresses and operating schedules for these locations are on the North Georgia Health District website at https://www.nghd.org/news/media-releases/free-covid-19-testing-available-in-north-georgia.
Anyone who has COVID-19 type symptoms or has been in close contact recently with a person infected with the virus needs to be tested for COVID-19, even if they are fully vaccinated.
COVID-19 testing is offered for free at the MAKO Medical drive-thru testing sites in North Georgia through a partnership with the Georgia Department of Public Health. This is PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing performed with a nasal swab to determine the presence of the virus that causes COVID-19. It is important to register ahead for testing at https://mako.exchange/splash/GAmakotesting.
If you believe you have COVID-19 symptoms, please get tested.
Valdosta Daily Times. January 14, 2022.
Editorial: Tracking down, ending human trafficking
January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.
The month is dedicated to raising awareness about human trafficking, otherwise known as modern slavery.
The Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice found at least 100,000 to 300,000 youth are at risk for commercial sexual exploitation annually in the U.S.
There is a misconception that human trafficking does not happen here, Ashley Lindsay of the Children’s Advocacy Center of Lowndes County said in a past article in The Valdosta Daily Times.
Human Trafficking Awareness Month “brings to light a situation that most people may not think is in our community, but with I-75 running right through Lowndes County, Atlanta is a major hub for sex trafficking, and that’s easy access between Miami and here,” Lindsay said. “We just want to make people aware that sex trafficking is real.”
The FBI has identified Atlanta as among 14 cities with the highest incidence of sex trafficking activity in the U.S., according to state officials.
Many people think a victim must cross the border for the crime to be considered trafficking, but that is not the case, officials say.
Another misconception is victims are always physically restrained, but many times the victim is detained through mental coercion. Victims fear being without food, shelter and other resources if they leave those who are trafficking them.
The Children’s Advocacy Center can put victims in touch with Georgia Cares and victims advocates at the district attorney’s office. They can help victims get resources they need. Victims can reach the center by calling (229) 245-5362.
January became National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month following a Dec. 28, 2016 proclamation signed by President Barack Obama.
The proclamation read: “Our nation wrestled with the issue of slavery in a way that nearly tore us apart — its fundamental notion in direct contradiction with our founding premise that we are all created equal... But today, in too many places around the world — including right here in the United States — the injustice of modern slavery and human trafficking still tears at our social fabric.”
We urge anyone who is a victim of human trafficking or anyone who believes they may be witnessing a case of human trafficking to contact authorities for help.
To report human trafficking, call 911 or the Georgia Division of Family and Child Services at 1-855-422-4453.
The Lowndes County 911 Center is available at (229) 245-5270.
A simple phone call could save a life, could free a life.
Brunswick News. January 18, 2022.
Editorial: Election integrity should concern both Republicans and Democrats
It is both shocking and absurd to think Georgia would need a law like this in the 21st century, but apparently the state does. At least state Senate President Pro Tempore Butch Miller, a Gainesville Republican, thinks so, and he is not alone. His Senate Resolution 363 has 17 other sponsors, including this district’s Sen. Sheila McNeill, R-Brunswick.
The resolution calls for a constitutional amendment requiring all voters in Georgia elections to be legal citizens of the United States. It has already passed in one committee, the Ethics Committee, where members gave it a greenlight in a 7-2 vote in the first week of the 2022 session of the General Assembly. The two nay votes were cast by two Democrats.
Critics claim a constitutional amendment would be redundant. They say federal and state laws, as well as the U.S. Constitution itself, already prohibit noncitizens from casting ballots in this nation’s elections.
Any poll taken today would undoubtedly indicate that most Georgians would think likewise. What voter registration office, after all, would allow an individual who was a citizen of another country to help decide the outcome of this state and nation’s elections? Hopefully not any.
Some opponents of the constitutional amendment take the argument against it a step further and claim the proposed resolution has racial overtones. Where they pulled this ridiculous counter argument from is anyone’s guess. Either an individual is a citizen or they are not. It is all about citizenship, not race.
Despite the sneers and jeers, Sen. Miller defends his proposal. He says it will clarify the law. The director of external affairs in the office of Georgia Secretary of State, Sam Teasley, tends to agree with him. Teasley uses words like “permissive” to describe the section of state constitution which addresses voting today. “It is not clear,” he says.
If that is an accurate description of how voting is addressed in the state constitution, then, by all means, the legislature should clear it up. If it takes a constitutional amendment to do so, then so be it.
Election integrity should concern Republicans and Democrats. It is incumbent upon both to do whatever is necessary to safeguard the decision-making powers of the men and women who elect them to office and who are actually citizens of this state.