• A Message from the State Registrar
  • Upcoming Webinars
  • Important Website Updates
  • NAPHSIS Board of Directors
  • GAVERS Technical Tips
  • Birth Quality Report
  • SOVR Quality Improvement Projects
  • Georgia Code & Regulations
  • Contact Information
Greetings from the State Office of Vital Records,
The past few months have brought some unprecedented challenges in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic; which has affected us all in some way. However, as partners we have risen to meet the challenges together, and I appreciate and admire the resourcefulness many have shown. I have heard from several vital records offices that had to reshape their workflows almost overnight, but still continued to provide critical services to their customers and communities. Many hospitals had to make drastic changes to accommodate COVID-19 patients and implement new infection control procedures, and yet March and April of 2020 were the fastest months we have ever seen for birth registration. The COVID-19 pandemic has also put a spotlight on the importance of timely and accurate death information. The work of our medical certifiers, deathcare workers, and vital records offices to collect and report deaths due to COVID-19 will be critical to understanding this disease.
The State Office of Vital Records will continue to share updates, information, and new resources as they become available. Please continue to reach out to us if you have questions, suggestions, or need guidance around vital records. We are here to support you.
Thank you for all you do and stay safe .

Christopher Harrison
State Registrar & Deputy Director
State Office of Vital Records
Georgia Department of Public Health
The State Office of Vital Records will offer several webinar trainings for you and your staff. Note: These trainings are only open to Georgia DPH stakeholders listed in the description of each event and is closed to the general public. Click here to visit our site and register.

Upcoming Webinars:

July 22, 2020 | 10AM - 11AM

August 19, 2020 | 10AM - 11AM
Important Website Updates
The Communications team has been working diligently to streamline our new webpage in hopes that it will provide our partners and stakeholders with important information and resources to assist you with your day-to-day vital records responsibilities. To view these changes simply visit the DPH Website and follow the instructions below.
From the top menu of the homepage hover over the the vital records dropdown menu as seen in the diagram below and click on the locations page . There you will find three of our newest features- main SOVR location page, find a location, and map of locations.
  1. The first tab is the main locations page, which highlights information regarding the State Office of Vital Records (SOVR), address, directions to our location, and business hours.
  2. The second tab is the Find a Vital Records Office page which features a county directory. (Note: Please find your county and review the information that is listed to ensure we have captured your physical address, customer service line, and type of office correctly). In the event that some of your information is incorrect please send the corrected information to Each county page has a directions feature that allows your customers to look up directions to your office.
  3. The third tab is the Map of Vital Records Offices page. This new feature allows you to search by city, county, or zip code. It also pinpoints offices near you on the map while also allowing you to get directions to the location of your choice.
Also new on the SOVR webpage is the SOVR Partners and Stakeholders page . Here you will find several resources including but not limited to:
  1. Who is considered a partner/stakeholder?
  2. Frequently Used Forms
  3. Georgia Code and VR Rules and Regulations
  4. Counties by Region
  5. The Vital Connections Newsletter and Other Communiques
  6. A subscribe feature that allows individuals who are not receiving the newsletters and communications from the State Office to sign-up via Constant Contact. This is a great tool to use for new employees.
Every year the State Office of Vital Records will offer a variety of face-to-face meetings and webinars for local county registrars, funeral homes, birthing facilities, medical examiners, coroners, and their staff. One of our new features allows you to register via the link located on the new upcoming meetings and upcoming webinars pages located on the left hand dropdown menu as seen in the diagram. Here you can locate the upcoming trainings and register via our site for these trainings. If you have any questions, please contact your regional consultant. Note: These trainings are only open to the Georgia DPH stakeholders named in the descriptions and is closed to the general public .
Our State Registrar & Deputy Director Christopher Harrison was elected to serve on the NAPHSIS Board of Directors for a two-year period beginning June 1st 2020. Chris’ election to this position is a testament to the great work done by everyone in the Georgia State Office of Vital Records as well as the local county stakeholders. Congratulations Chris!
Guidance Regarding COVID-19 Death Certificates
Guidance for certifying COVID-19 deaths when the decedent has underlying health conditions

When certifying deaths due to COVID-19 it can be important to list pre-existing health conditions that could increase susceptibility to infection or exacerbate the disease. However, please be mindful that those conditions should be listed in Part II of the death certificate as significant conditions . Conditions like diabetes, hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or asthma are just some examples of conditions that should be listed in Part II when present. Such conditions should not be listed on lines A through D when reporting deaths due to COVID-19 because they did not cause the COVID-19, nor were they caused by COVID-19.


77-Year-Old Male with Hypertension and COPD presented to the emergency department with 4 days of fever, cough, and increasing shortness of breath. Respiratory specimens tested positive for COVID-19. The patient was admitted to the ICU. On day 3 day of admission he experienced worsening respiratory acidosis for several hours, then cardiac arrest.

How should this death be recorded in GAVERS?
Key takeaways:

  • Be specific and list “COVID-19” or “2019 Novel Coronavirus” when certifying the cause of death. It is not specific enough to only list “coronavirus” as a cause of death.
  • Hypertension and COPD are included in Cause of Death – Part II. These are significant conditions related to the death, but did not directly result in, or result from COVID-19
  • Include approximate intervals, when available, for all causes in Part I. When the exact intervals are not known it is acceptable to use terms like hours, days, months, or years to indicate the approximate interval of each condition.
  • Do not include terms like cardiac arrest among the causes of death in GAVERS. This is a terminal event at the time of death, not a cause of death.

For additional resources on COVID-19 and death certification, please visit these links:

Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH):

Georgia DPH State Office of Vital Records
CDC Certifying COVID-19 Deaths Video
CDC Webinar for Certifying Deaths Due to COVID-19
CDC Guidance for Certifying Deaths Due to COVID-19
Top Facilities
Overall there were 26 facilities that earned perfect scores. The following are the top birth facilities in each facility category:

50 or Fewer Births
51 to 200 Births
201 or More Births
Most Improved Facilities

The following facilities had the largest improvement in their score from March to April , improving by 5 points or more. This month that accounts for 4 facilities who all made substantial improvements.
The State Office of Vital Records is currently working on two major quality improvement projects. Each project was specifically designed to improve the processes at the State Office while simultaneous influencing our county partners to do the same.
Security Paper Voidance Project
Description: The State Office of Vital Records is constantly striving to improve the security paper process for state paper. More specifically, this project was adopted to take a closer look at how security paper is managed and used at the State Office. The Compliance and Communications team began to closely monitor usage, measure reasons for voided paper and the cost associated with it, as well as compared them with our system through a daily quality check audit to ensure voiding was conducted correctly.
Project Goal: Reduce the amount of waste as it pertains to security paper at the State Office through awareness, tracking, discussion and training.
Current Status : Tracking usage and learning new reasons for a voided certificate. Create and implement a corrective action training.
Project Lead: Akilah McGhee, Compliance and Communications Manager
Refunds Project
Description: Refunds can be plentiful at the State Office of Vital Records, especially as it relates to marriage and divorce requests. This is primarily due to customers requesting a copy of their marriage certificate and application outside of the window that is available to us at the State Office. SOVR only contains marriage applications and certificates from 1952-1996. The same goes for the divorce verifications. Though marriage data is available to us after 1996, the certificates and applications are not. Customers would typically have to visit the court in the county in which the marriage occurred. Our office will only be able to provide a verification statement for the later years.
Project Goal: To reduce the number of refunds by improving communication around the available years of data as well as clearly defining what a verification is vs. the actual application and certificate.
Current Status: Create new marriage and divorce forms to include more information about available data and what the customer should expect to receive.
Project Lead: Dana Clanton, Search Supervisor
Visit Georgia's General Assembly website to access the Georgia Code . Once there, double click Georgia Code on the left-hand menu from the top. Follow the prompts and scroll down to "Title 31 Health", check the box beside it and select "Chapter 10 Vital Records". Here you will find the Georgia Code. All updates will be made to this site.

Visit the Secretary of State's Office website to access Georgia Rules and Regulations for Vital Records . Enter your first and last name. Enter the correct answer for the human verification. Click agree and you will automatically be redirected to the Rules and Regulations for the State of Georgia. Scroll down and click on " Department 511. Rules of Georgia Department of Public Health ". Select " Chapter 511-1 Administration " and click on " 511-1-3. Vital Records " to gain access to the Rules and Regulations.
Joseph Little, Regional Support Manager
(770) 909-2952 or (404) 863-4832
Kamilah Traylor
(770) 909-2941 or (404) 901-1615
Mannett Foster
(770) 909-2943 or (404) 901-1634

Crystal Myers
(770) 909-2940 or (404) 414-9216
Petra Hood
(404) 679-4745
Shawnketrius Tukes
(404) 679-4745
Michael Valle
(770) 909-5383
Communications Center
(404) 679-4702

 The “Vital Connection” is a production of the Program Administration Compliance, Training, & Communications Unit.

Cynthia Buskey, Interim Director/Deputy Director – Program Administration
Akilah McGhee – Compliance, Training, and Communications Manager
D’Andre Mayberry – Instructional Designer

Christopher Harrison, State Registrar/Deputy Director – Data Integrity & Analytics
Vital Records Staff

Georgia Department of Public Health | State Office of Vital Records | Phone: (404) 679-4702 |
Fax: (404) 679-4730 | |