Drive-through testing coming to the area

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Testing sites will only be for people directed there by the Department of Public Health.

  • The Hartwell Sun
    The Hartwell Sun
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Drive through testing sites for COVID-19 are now available in each of the state’s public health districts, and the state is prioritizing patients who need tests the most during this pandemic as the death toll in Georgia rose to 10 on Thursday.

Georgia Department of Public Health spokesperson Dave Palmer said drive-through testing sites for the novel coronavirus are now available in each of the state’s 18 health districts. Drive-through testing sites are set up at undisclosed locations across the state. Patients will be given the location of the site once they have been designated as a “person under investigation” and receive a number, Dave Palmer, DPH District 2 spokesperson said.

“If a doctor evaluates a patient and determines they need to be tested, the patient will be given a PUI (person under investigation) number. They will be tested by the doctor if the doctor has supplies for testing. Patients can also be tested at a drive through site,” Palmer said.

COVID-19 tests are being prioritized for the “most vulnerable populations and the people responsible for their care and safety,” according to a joint statement issued Wednesday from Governor Brian Kemp, the DPH and the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency.

“This will conserve precious medical supplies — like masks, shoe covers and gowns — which are becoming increasingly difficult to find for health care facilities due to overuse, export bans and hoarding,” according to the statement. "Georgia’s elderly, those with chronic, underlying health conditions, those who live in a longterm care facility like an assisted living facility or nursing home, and those serving on the front lines as a healthcare worker, first responder, long-term care facility staffer, or law enforcement need tests. The best way to serve the public is to protect the people who are protecting us in this battle.”

If you have symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath or if you have traveled to an affected area or made contact with a known positive COVID-19 case, residents should call their healthcare provider, Palmer said.

People who do not have symptoms of COVID-19 do not need to be tested, according to the statement, and most people who are mildly or moderately ill with “cold-like” symptoms do not need to be tested.

“The majority of people with COVID-19 can safely recover at home with self-isolation and symptomatic treatment. Diagnosis through laboratory testing does not change the care that they would receive,” according to the statement.

The number of deaths in Georgia caused by COVID-19 rose to 10 Thursday, with the total number of confirmed cases reaching 287 in the state.

There are still no confirmed cases in Hart County as of noon Thursday, but the DPH reported six cases in the state are in unknown counties.

The Department of Public Health is not reporting county-by-county testing numbers, only confirmed cases and statewide testing figures. As of Thursday, 1,831 residents have been lab tested in Georgia, according to the DPH.

To contain COVID-19, officials encourage people who are sick with mild respiratory symptoms, such as fever and cough, to stay home and isolate themselves from others for at least seven days after their symptoms begin or 72 hours after their fever has resolved and symptoms have improved.

 If you have been exposed to an individual with COVID-19, you must self-quarantine for 14 days and monitor for symptoms, according to the statement.