ATLANTA — Starting immediately, anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus can get tested at one of the Georgia Department of Health drive-through sites across the state.
Referrals are still required, but patients can now call their local health department for a referral or get one from a health care provider.
[SPECIAL SECTION --> Latest on coronavirus in Georgia and around the world]
Health care workers, law enforcement, first responders and long-term care facility residents and staff will be prioritized whether or not they have symptoms.
- DeKalb County schools will end academic year earlier than planned
- Stimulus checks: When will you get the payment and how much will it be?
- Atlanta TSA officer dies of coronavirus
Officials are urging people not to show up at a testing site without an appointment. Only people who have been assigned a “person under investigation” number will be able to be tested. You can find the contact information for you local health department HERE.
Emory University announced Wednesday that they will now offer drive-through testing where patients can be seen by appointment. An online COVID-19 screening tool developed by Emory physicians, is available online to check symptoms before seeking the swab test offered at the appointment-only, drive-through site.
Channel 2′s Carol Sbarge was outside an urgent care in northwest Atlanta and got reactions from doctors and patients.
On Tuesday, Sbarge talked to a man who said he couldn’t find any testing for his wife, who had coronavirus symptoms. She was finally able to get tested today and tested positive.
“It was really frustrating this past weekend when my wife went to get tested,” Chris Davis said. “She had the symptoms, from the chills to fever to diarrhea and vomiting, but she didn’t fit the criteria at that time for testing.”
Davis said two hospitals refused to test her. Today she got her results in 15 minutes. Davis said he’s very glad the Georgia Department of Public Health opened up testing.
“I think that’s great news for people out here,” Davis said. “You know it’s serious out here.”
Davis was also tested when his wife was. He tested negative. A doctor told his wife she is showing signs of recovery.
Dr. John Destito with American Family Care said he’s thrilled testing will be more available to patients at their urgent care locations.
“I think testing, that’s the key to being able to conquer this disease and also know how to get back to a normal life,” Destito said. “We’re going to be able to tell where the virus is, how prevalent it is.”
Destito said their urgent care patients have dropped off about 50% because people are worried about coming in around others. He stresses they’ve taken many precautions to keep people safe.
He said his facility does a lot to keep everything clean and safe for patients who still turn to urgent care for ailments.
“Despite the fact that we’re in a pandemic, people still get sinus infections, urinary tract infections, coughs, colds,” Destito said. “We’re cleansing after every patient and hourly, we’re cleaning door handles and all the surfaces.”
© 2020 Cox Media Group