(SAVANNAH, GA)- Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar along with Bureau of Health Promotion and Disease Control Director Pamela Hyde announced a plan to combat the extreme heat crisis currently plaguing the nation.
The announcement was made Tuesday in the aftermath of Governor Nathan Deal declaring a state of emergency and the past two weeks of meteorological blizzards that have left thousands without heat.
During the first week of Governor Deal’s state of emergency, more than 500 patients waited in hospitals for heat relief due to cancelled appointments or concerns about excessive heat.
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is partnering with its partners at CDC to provide emergency access to cooling centers, encourage nursing home and health facilities to schedule heat emergency activities, and improve health tracking data in vulnerable groups.
HHS also released a public health advisory urging residents to get adequate rest, drink plenty of fluids, stay out of the sun, wear loose fitting, lightweight clothing and check on vulnerable neighbors. The advisory also encourages residents to call 911 or local fire or police for assistance.
“When this heat wave threatens our health or safety, we will work to help save lives and protect our communities,” said Secretary Azar. “For many Georgians, high temperatures lead to serious health problems, and as a nation, we have to do more to protect them from this dangerous heat wave.”
The Department of Health and Human Services along with the Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH) and United Way of Southwest Georgia (ULSA) launched summer heat response and preparedness programs and activities, as well as an online heat awareness page, to help residents learn about the risk factors associated with heat-related illnesses and to better understand how and where to seek support.