Atlanta offering free COVID-19 testing for protesters Saturday

Atlanta opens up free COVID-19 testing site for protesters

ATLANTA — The City of Atlanta announced it is offering free COVID-19 testing in the community this weekend aimed toward protesters.

The testing site will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Chosewood Arts Complex. The complex is located off McDonough Boulevard in southeast Atlanta.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has been encouraging anyone who protested or has been in large crowds lately to get tested.

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The mayor said she took a test Friday, the day after she took to the streets with protesters in solidarity.

At a news conference earlier this week, Gov. Brian Kemp and Georgia Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey also encouraged testing.

“I encourage all law enforcement along with those who are participating in the demonstrations to get tested immediately,” Kemp said Tuesday.

Toomey said the department plans to set up test sites and also has been in touch with the Atlanta mayor’s office to set up testing for city first responders.

“We want to ensure that the pandemic doesn’t spread because of this,” Toomey said. “I think we need to be very vigilant.”

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Kemp urges people who attended weekend's protests to get tested for COVID-19

Protests over the death of George Floyd have had health experts and others concerned about a possible new spike in COVID-19 cases in Georgia.

Channel 2′s Sophia Choi spoke with several health professionals, who said first and foremost that they understood the need to protest right now even with the pandemic.

But they stressed unless everyone goes back to the rules of social distancing, wearing a mask and sanitizing, the virus could easily take off again.

"What this is doing is that it’s bringing the virus many potential hosts that it can live in,” said Fulton County Board of Health Director Lynn Paxton.

As of Friday afternoon, there have been 50,621 total confirmed COVID-19 cases in Georgia and 2,174 deaths related to the virus.

The Georgia Department of Health currently updates the numbers once a day at 3 p.m on its website here.