AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — To track and contain the virus, health officials need widespread testing.
The Augusta Fire Department is taking on a new responsibility by hosting testing events in well-populated areas.
“As of 9 AM today, Richmond County had 521 cases of COVID-19,” said Fire Chief Christopher James.
That number of cases is a growing concern for the fire chief.
“One of the fears that we have is, we have a lot of folks in our community that may be positive and not aware of it,” explained Chief James. “Therefore, they are not changing their behavior.”
In an effort to slow down the virus, three groups are partnering to test the public consistently. In three weeks, more than 1,000 people have been tested.
“People are concerned about COVID-19,” said Chief James. “And they want to do things to help themselves and families stay safe.”
More testing means more strain on labs, and some labs have been delayed. One even had to send its samples to Augusta University. Chief James says their lab is up to the challenge.
“Our labs our sufficient in handling the testing we are doing,” said Chief James. “They’re even efficient enough in handling testing from other locations.”
The Augusta Fire Chief says the greatest way to protect yourself is to wear a face mask.
“As we move forward through the summer, we need to wear masks so we can help open our society back up,” explained Chief James. “That is important to our economy. We need to wear them so we can do it sufficiently.”
There won’t be a testing event this next week. A fourth-round will be in two weeks at Fire Station One on Broad Street.