Testing widely expanded for Georgia residents with COVID-19 symptoms

STAFF REPORT :::

All Georgia residents who are symptomatic are eligible for COVID-19 testing. This change, effective immediately, will allow those who were previously denied tests the ability to request the diagnostic procedure.

The Department of Public Health is also in the process of increasing the number of specimen collection sites statewide and the criteria to accommodate increased testing for Georgia residents.

Health care workers, first responders, law enforcement officers and long-term care facility residents and staff wills continue to be prioritized for testing regardless of whether or not they are symptomatic.

Referrals for testing will still be required, however, there are now two methods of referral to DPH specimen collection sites.

Individuals who meet COVID-19 testing criteria may now be referred to DPH specimen collection  sites by contacting their local health department. They will be screened by appropriate health department staff and referred to the closest, most convenient specimen collection site. Contact information for local health departments can be found on the DPH homepage at https://dph.georgia/gov/ under the heading COVID-19 in Georgia.

Patients may also be referred for COVID-19 testing by health care providers and physicians.

People should not arrive unannounced or without a scheduled appointment at a specimen collection site, hospital, emergency room or other health care facility. Only individuals who have been evaluated by a public health department or a health care provider and assigned a PUI number will be referred to these drive-thru sites.

Health officials say that together we can stop further spread of COVID-19 in our state and save lives.

Stay home – the Governor has issued a shelter-in-place executive order that should be observed by all residents and visitors.

Practice social distancing – keep at least 6 feet between yourself and other people.

Wash your hands – use soap and water and scrub for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that is at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water aren’t readily available.

Wear a mask – the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend the use of face masks to help slow the spread of COVID-19, especially where socials distancing is difficult to maintain such as in grocery stores,  pharmacies and the like, and especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

For additional information about COVID-19, please visit https://dph.georgia.gov/novelcoronavirus or https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

For updates on the COVID-19 pandemic as it develops, follow @GaDPH, @GeorgiaEMA, and @GovKemp on Twitter and @GaDPH, @GEMA.OHS, and @GovKemp on Facebook.

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