AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Free coronavirus testing is coming for those who need it in the Garden City. The Department of Health, Christ Community Health Services, and Augusta Fire and EMA will be providing the screenings.
Christ Community Health Services’ Medical Director, Dr. Robert Campbell said, “This is the first time that anything like this has happened in anybody’s lifetime currently. It’s been maybe a little over 100 years since something like this happened.”
Right now, Dr. Campbell’s primary care facilities are treating about 10,000 patients in the CSRA.
He said, “We’ve only screened a couple of percentage points of the population of Georgia. So we’re still trying to figure out how bad the coronavirus is. How it’s effecting certain populations. Low-income, certain segments of our community, racially, ethnically.”
Wednesday, May 6, the free coronavirus tests will help get a more accurate depiction of how the virus is impacting vulnerable Augustans.
“We’ve been given a privilege to work with the health department and the fire department and local hospitals to think about ways we can expand testing into these populations,” said Dr. Campbell.
The screening Wednesday is a nasal swab. It’s similar to a flu test.
“It takes just a few seconds and they’ll get a result back within three days or a little longer,” said Dr. Stephen Goggans. He’s the Director of the East Central Health District for the Georgia Department of Health.
If you do test positive for COVID-19, you’ll get a follow up call about contact tracing and your case will be investigated. It is encouraged for you to register, make an appointment and get pre-screened by calling 311 before you show up to the testing site at Fire Station No. 1 on Wednesday.
“If you don’t, you may have to wait and also depending on how many people we get there’s a chance we could get to the end of the time or run out of tests so registering is definitely the best way to go,” explained Dr. Goggans.
Dr. Campbell added, “The standards for being tested, the criteria for being tested, have been expanded so we’re hoping that we’re able to test a lot of people tomorrow. Get some good information. Most of the testing we’ve done recently through the Augusta Housing Authority, through the senior living facilities, has been encouraging. We’ve picked up a few cases here and there which is great. We can get those folks informed and allow to quarantine more effectively. But for the most part, we’re seeing the number trend down.”
The 311 line is available for calls from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m.
The free coronavirus tests will at Augusta Fire Station No. 1 (1 Broad Street, Augusta, GA) beginning at 10:00 a.m. May 6. Testing will end at 2:00 p.m. Free PPE masks will also be given away while supplies last.