COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WJBF) — Augusta University has opened a second COVID-19 testing site for children. The new Grovetown location serves patients in Columbia County and surrounding areas.
The site, like its sister location on West Wheeler Pkwy, was designed with children in mind. The nursing staff are trained specifically to work with children, who may arrive to their test nervous or scared.
“I try to calm down the situation and explain to them exactly what I will do,” Alexander Barroga, a licensed practical nurse, said. “After that, I tell them they can pick a snack. I have stickers, and I even show them a little magic trick, too.”
Children under 10-years-old originally weren’t being tested. Growing demands from parents led AU to expand testing.
“When you’re a parent and have a sick child, and there’s a disease like COVID-19 out there, you want the ability to know the child has that disease,” Dr. Phillip Coule said.
The Grovetown site opened as thousands of children headed back to school. Parents and school leaders worried how they would keep children safe during this unprecedented school year. Dr. Phillip Coule said reopening schools has not affected local case numbers so far.
“We’re not seeing an increase with school starting up, at least in Columbia County, ” Coule said.
However, Coule says the community can not let its guard down yet.
“I occasionally hear parents say, ‘It’s just a cold. I’m sending him to school anyway.’ Now, more than ever, that is a terrible idea. If they have symptoms at all, keep them home and don’t send them to school,” Coule warned.
Pediatric testing information
Augusta University Care Center Grovetown II: 305 W. Robinson Ave., Grovetown, GA 30813; (706)446-4886
Testing available 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Augusta University West Wheeler: 1220 West Wheeler Pkwy., Augusta, GA 30909; (706)312-5437
Testing available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.