Ellen Eldridge

Digital News Manager

Ellen Eldridge (she/her) is a digital manager and health care reporter for GPB. She has previously worked as a breaking news reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The topics she most often writes about are mental and other health care issues, crime and public safety. Ellen graduated Kennesaw State University magna cum laude in 2015 with a degree in communication focused on journalism. Ellen lives with her husband, daughter and son in Woodstock.

Copyright 2021 Georgia Public Broadcasting. To see more, visit Georgia Public Broadcasting.


hoto, a subject receives a shot in the first-stage safety study clinical trial of a potential vaccine by Moderna for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.
Ted S. Warren / AP

The first vaccine against COVID-19 tested in the United States is moving into its final phase with promising results, according to results published Tuesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Moderna Inc. in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health started working together and within six weeks had a vaccine called mRNA-1273, said Dr. Nadine Rouphael, one of the authors on the study.

"To be able to publish preliminary results three months later is really unprecedented," Rouphael said. "It had shown that the vaccine was well tolerated. It has also shown that the vaccine is able to induce a good immune response."

Screenshot over Zoom

Secoriea Turner, the 8-year-old girl shot to death July 4 near the burned-down Wendy's in Atlanta, had nothing to do with ongoing protests against police brutality, her family's lawyers say.

At a news conference Monday, Secoriey Williamson, the girl's father, begged for anyone with information to come forward. He even played to the conscience of his daughter's killer, pleading with the shooter to come forward.

Atlanta Police Department

Atlanta police released images of a second person of interest in the July 4 shooting death of 8-year-old Secoriea Turner. The first person of interest has been cleared, attorneys for the family said.

Her parents, Charmaine Turner and Secoriey Williamson, are pleading with the public to provide information about those responsible in the death of their child.

The reward is up to $50,000, and anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 404-577-8477.


A group of H1N1 swine influenza viruses have essential hallmarks of being highly adapted to infect humans and are of potential pandemic concern, health officials say.

These viruses — referred to as G4 Eurasian (EA) avian-like H1N1 viruses — have been spreading in pigs in China since 2016 and are now the predominant set of genes that can be passed down from parents to offspring, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Wikimedia Commons

With hospitals facing a surge of coronavirus patients, Gov. Brian Kemp on Friday said the Georgia World Congress Center would again be utilized as an alternate hospital as more people in the state become sick with COVID-19.

Hands raised below a blue and yellow volleyball in the air..
Juan Karita / AP

The Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, a Divison II conference made up of historically Black colleges, has suspended all sporting and championship events through the fall due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision by the SIAC marks the first conference in the South to postpone its fall sports, as many sports fans eagerly await the possible return of college football. The postponement comes on the heels of the Ivy League reaching the same decision. 

Eugene Hoshiko / AP

A cigarette manufacturer can market a new tobacco product as "modified risk," the Food and Drug Administration says.

The IQOS product uses a heating system that doesn't burn the tobacco. It is classified as a cigarette even though it does not produce smoke. The FDA issued its marketing guidance on Tuesday. 

Maria Pieras makes eye contact with her baby daughter Zoe.
Rodrigo Abd

Children in Georgia and across the country are far less likely to get infected with COVID-19, a local pediatrician says.

When children do test positive for coronavirus, they tend to be less sick, Dr. Jennifer Shu said.

"They are also less likely to transmit it to other people," she said.

File image of a negative quick coronavirus test.
Ariana Cubillos / AP

A dog that tested positive for coronavirus in Georgia last week did not pass the disease to a second dog in the home,  state health officials said Thursday.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on Wednesday signed an executive order mandating face masks in Georgia's largest city in an attempt to bring the coronavirus pandemic under control. 

The decision defies the governor's executive order that stops short of such a mandate.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

Facing an uproar from professors, the state system overseeing Georgia universities abruptly changed course on face masks late Monday, mandating students at public universities wear masks in classrooms due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Matt Rourke / AP

Social distancing and quarantining may help slow the spread of COVID-19, but the isolation is hurting those with opioid use disorder, addiction experts say.

Georgia Tech / Facebook

As the state of Georgia continues to see coronavirus cases rising at an alarming rate, Georgia Tech professors are continuing to speak out against the current reopening plans, saying their health and students' health must be the top priority.  

Former Republican Presidential candidate Herman Cain shakes hands with news talk radio host Neal Boortz after he was announced as Boortz's replacement following Boortz's retirement announcement during his morning show at WSB in Atlanta in 2012.
Paul Abell / AP

Atlanta radio host and former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain is fighting COVID-19 in a local hospital, according to a statement on his Twitter account. 

A pet dog named "Money" wearing a pet face mask poses for a photo in Bangkok, Thailand, Thursday, June 4, 2020.
Gemunu Amarasinghe / AP

A pet dog in Georgia tested positive for the novel coronavirus, state health officials said.

The 6-year-old mixed breed dog's owners tested positive for COVID-19, and their dog developed what health officials called a "sudden onset of neurological illness," without any signs of respiratory disease.

A woman wearing a mask due to coronavirus concerns walks by a public library, Tuesday, June 30, 2020, in Cambridge, Mass.
Elise Amendola / AP

If you're going out to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday, wear a mask. If you want to save the economy and prevent the need for shutting down the state again, wear a mask.

That was the takeaway Wednesday from top health officials at Emory who were emphatic that masks should be mandatory.

Warisara Klawkla, a daughter of teacher Watcharee Klawkla, colors a drawing made to educate children on COVID-19 prevention methods while her mother help cooking a meal at Makkasan preschool in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, June 24, 2020.
Gemunu Amarasinghe / AP

With all we don’t know about the coronavirus and keeping children safe, returning to school is much like a game of Russian roulette, some parents say.

"It's such a Catch-22 because it's Russian roulette," Meghan Roper said. "We should do what's safe, but then in another sense these kids still have to learn; these parents still have to work."

Gov. Brian Kemp shared a photo to Twitter of himself in a cloth face mask Monday, June 29, 2020.

Gov. Brian Kemp won't make face masks mandatory, but he's visiting Albany, Augusta, Columbus, Dalton, Savannah and Valdosta ahead of the holiday weekend to encourage everyone to heed public health advice and wear a mask to mitigate the spread of coronavirus.

Kemp also extended the public health state of emergency to Aug. 11. The emergency order was set to expire at the end of this month.

Eric Risberg, File / AP

A five-day course of the antiviral drug remdesivir will cost private health insurers in the United States more than $3,000, Gilead Chairman & CEO Daniel O'Day said Monday

The Department of Health and Human Services already obtained more than 500,000 treatment courses to ensure "any American patient who needs remdesivir gets it" through September, HHS Secretary Alex Azar said.

Backlight image of a man holding a child against the sunset affected by a Saharan dust cloud.
Charlie Riedel / AP

The Georgia Department of Public Health is urging people to use caution outdoors as the densest Saharan dust in the last 50 to 60 years moves across the state.

If it appears hazy or dusty outside, limit outdoor activities such as yard work and exercise, the agency said in a statement. The health department also recommended wearing a face mask outside "to keep dust particles out of the nose and mouth, and to help prevent the spread of COVID-19."


Lawmakers on the last day of the legislative session passed a bill taxing vaping products for the first time and raising the age to purchase tobacco products to 21.

The move, when signed by Gov. Brian Kemp, means an estimated $9.6 million and $14.5 million in extra revenue for the state. However, that is far less than the $600 million that was left on the table by not increasing the sales tax on cigarettes, according to the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, or GBPI.

Georgia ranks 48th out of 50 for the lowest cigarette tax in the nation.

Emilio Morenatti / AP

LaGrange, Georgia, ranks third in the nation as a COVID-19 hot spot for deaths relative to its population and fourth in the nation for cases relative to its population, according to The New York Times.

Data analysis from the newspaper showed 17 people in the last two weeks had died of coronavirus in LaGrange, a town of about 30,000 people in Troup County located about 70 miles southwest of Atlanta.

Georgians want to know how many people are getting infected with coronavirus, how many are on ventilators in intensive care units and how many are dying. But experts say the state health department is not presenting its data in a way people can easily understand.


After fighting for years to pass a bill addressing Georgia's terribly high rates of maternal mortality, House Bill 1114 passed Wednesday night.

The bill extends Medicaid coverage for women from two to six months after giving birth. Now, all eyes are on whether the budget will provide funding.

Rep. Sharon Cooper, who sponsored the bill, told GPB News she's hopeful.

Stephen Fowler / GPB News

UPDATE: The maternal mortality bill — HB 1114 — passed the House Wednesday evening and heads to the governor's desk for his signature.

ORIGINAL STORY: A bill aimed at curbing Georgia's exceedingly high maternal mortality rates unanimously passed the state Senate on Tuesday. The bill extends Medicaid coverage for postpartum from two to six months and allows for lactation care and services.

Jessica Gurell / GPB

Emergency rooms across Georgia are seeing more suspected drug overdoses, raising concerns the state is beginning to see an exacerbated epidemic emerge amid the coronavirus pandemic, officials say.

Georgia's drug surveillance team outlined the rise in suspected drug overdoses in a June 19 memo that alerted its “partners to be vigilant about any unusual drug overdose activity” and that the department “needs your help to determine if an increase in drug overdoses is truly occurring.”

Branden Camp / AP

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard, who is in a close race for re-election, is being criticized by people accusing him of a rush to judgment in filing criminal charges against the Atlanta police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks.

Poultry farmer Dempsey Miford walks through his family's chicken house in Cumming, Georgia.
John Bazemore / AP

Over the weekend Georgia saw its largest spike in coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, with experts warning about an alarming rise in the state's poultry and agricultural workers.

Mike Stewart / AP

The Carter Center says now is the time to look closely at how insurance companies cover mental health treatment.

The 2008 Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act requires insurers to cover illnesses of the brain in the same way as illnesses of the body, but it’s not enforced in Georgia, Helen Robinson with The Carter Center said.