COVID-19 Tests expanding for essential workers without symptoms in Georgia

ATLANTA — The list of people who are eligible to get tested in Georgia for COVID-19 is expanding to include people deemed essential workers during the shelter in place order, officials said.

The testing is now being offered at nine locations around the state that are operated by Augusta University Health and the Georgia National Guard.


The people eligible to get tested, even if they are not showing symptoms, include utility workers, communications workers, and the food service industry. That includes grocery store workers who came in contact with large numbers of people, food processing plant employees and workers responsible for maintaining the food supply chain, officials told Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne.

Expanded testing comes with the increased availability of test kits, some made by the Dental College of Georgia with a 3D printer, according to Augusta University Health VP and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Philip Coule.

[RELATED: Department of Health numbers show Georgia’s COVID-19 curve flattening]

Coule says the expanded list now used at his testing sites mirror how critical infrastructure workers are defined by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. He defined critical infrastructure workers for testing purposes are now basically anyone who had to continue to go to work during the stay at home order.

Georgia National Guard Adjutant General Tom Carden says four dozen public health sites are also using the same expanded criteria for who can get tested without symptoms and that could expand.

“As we lower the threshold for testing and we make it more accessible, it gives us a better opportunity to meet the governor’s intent, which is to ramp up significantly,” Carden said.

How do you get tested?

You must visit the Augusta University Health website and download an app or call the hotline at 706-721-1852 to see if you qualify for an appointment, either because of your symptoms or because you were a critical infrastructure worker.

Governor Brian Kemp’s office says at least some of those dozens of other public health testing sites around the state have allowed some testing of asymptomatic tests for up to two weeks. A spokesperson says who gets tested varies from site to site but they expect some uniformity soon.

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