Cobb & Douglas Public Health’s Lisa Crossman addresses Mableton City Council

Lisa Crossman at the podiumLisa Crossman at the Mableton City Council meeting (Photo: Larry Felton Johnson/Cobb County Courier)

Mableton Mayor Michael Owens invited Deputy Director Lisa Crossman of Cobb & Douglas Public Health to address the Mableton City Council on health issues of concern to the city at its meeting last Wednesday.

Owens and Crossman had begun working together on community health issues after the mayor was appointed to the Cobb County Board of Health.

Rise in COVID cases

The first topic Crossman brought up to the Mableton council and residents was the recent widely-reported rise in COVID cases.

“We’ve been getting a lot of questions over the past few weeks about COVID again, and I just want to address a few points,” she said. “My main message is there is no cause for alarm. The hospitalizations continue to be low.”


“Our current guidance remains exactly the same as it has for the past several months, so everybody can relax a little bit,” said Crossman. “We are not looking at another pandemic outbreak rollout at this point.”

“So let me hit a few specific points because for those of you who want more details,” she said. “We are seeing an uptick in the requests for COVID tests. We see it at all of our locations.”

“For those of you who need access to test when you may have symptoms, I’ve got a few choices for you,” Crossman said. “I brought a few dozen of the free COVID tests if folks want to take some of those tonight.”

“For those who are in not available to get some tonight, we also provide these at all of our public health locations (and) they’re free of charge,” she said. “These are about $25 kits.”

Crossman said that if you have kits remaining at home to not only check the expiration date, but check with the manufacturer to see if the expiration date has been extended.

“We do PCR drive-through tests here at the EpiCenter. That’s Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.” she said. “It’s free, and you get the results back in just a couple of days.”

“And then lastly, we have the test kiosk that’s located here the EpiCenter, 24/7 access,” Crossman said. “You can walk in or go in the main door entry and it’s just where you would get a COVID test.”

She said it’s a self-swab, and you leave the swab for pickup by a lab. The lab then posts your results to an online patient portal.

“We continue to recommend that you cover your cough when you cough that and you wash your hands regularly that’s going to prevent a lot of infectious diseases from spreading,” Crossman said.
“Not just COVID but a lot of other respiratory infections.

She said that if you do get COVID, you should stay home for about five days, then when you go out, consider wearing a mask, and avoid large gatherings. But quarantine is no longer recommended.

Increase in drug overdoses

“We have seen a real increase in opioid overdoses,” she said. “They’re at the highest level in the United States that they’ve been and including Cobb County.

“Cobb County deaths from synthetic opioids such as fentanyl increase about 170% from 2019 to 2021,” Crossman said. “That’s the last day that we have clean data.”

“Even more alarming to me as someone with children who are young adults, is that the fentanyl involved overdoses among adolescents who are 10 to 19 in Georgia Rose 800% In that same time-frame frame,” she said. “And please be aware that the increases were across all genders, all races, all ethnicity, and all geographic areas across the state of Georgia.”

“So a few things that I would ask you to do as a resident,” she said. “The first is to properly dispose of any opioids that you may have in your home.”

“A lot of people report that the first use that they have an opioid was through a family member or friend and giving them their leftovers or seeing those in their medicine cabinets.”

“So I also brought you all something called dispose RX. This is a powder that if you have medication, it doesn’t have to be just opioids. It can be any medication that’s leftover. If you have medication in your home that’s no longer in use. Then you can take this powder, put it in your medicine bottle, fill it with water, shake it, it deactivates the medicine and turns to a solid and then you can throw it away,” she said.

She said they are giving out the powder at public health events.

Crossman also suggested that residents talk to their doctors and dentists about using alternatives to opioids for pain control.

She then urged people to seek help if they or family members have a drug addiction or mental health problem.

“But truly until we reduce the stigma of asking for help, we’re not going to get in front of this, she said.

“I would imagine that all of you reach out for help when you have a broken clavicle … that you reach out for help when you maybe have a heart attack,” she said. “We need to get to the point where we all reach out for help when we have a mental health illness.”

Crossman said that CDPH offers free naxalone (Narcan) inhalers

“If you don’t know what that is, that’s the nasal spray that if somebody overdoses, you can apply that Naloxone, and in most cases it reverses the result or the overdose and helps them recover very quickly until they’re ready to get into a recovery program,” she said. “We want to make sure that folks stay alive so we can make that available to residents.”

“If you go on to our Cobb & Douglas Public Health website, you can just hit the contact us and we’ll make sure to get that to you.”