AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — Health experts suggest, more testing needs to be done to learn more about the virus. That’s why the Augusta Fire Department is offering weekly free COVID-19 testing. The second testing event will be Friday.
Fire Chief Christopher James says last week’s event was the largest single-day COVID-19 testing event in this region. Also, it’s the first testing event to be held at a fire station in Georgia. He says the biggest takeaway was how to handle the large crowd of people.
“Based on other sites we have seen in our area, we thought were going to get lucky to test about 70 people,” said James. “But we ended up with 267 people being tested.”
There is a high interest in getting tested for the virus, and the fire department expects more than 440 people to show up.
“This time, we have developed an easier way for those who have pre-registered to come in on one line,” explained James. “Those who are walk-ups will come to another line; that way, we can make it an easier time to get people tested.”
The fire department expects to offer free COVID-19 tests until the pandemic is over. Chief James says every location is picked to benefit those who may not be able to get a ride.
“What we are doing is called neighborhood testing,” explained James. “We want to move it from different neighborhoods to allow all of the citizens to get tested.”
Chief James was tested last week, and that test came back negative. Now, he is urging people to take advantage of the free test. He says it’s the best way to slow down the virus.
“If you don’t get tested and you’re positive while going on with your daily activities, then we can’t get control of this,” said James. “The virus will continue to spread.”
Next week, The Augusta Fire Department will host a third testing site at Good Shepherd Baptist Church. On May 19th, first responders can get tested for free at the Augusta Fire Department Administration Office.