Georgia Department of Public Health urges people to not go to ERs for COVID testing

image of COVID-19 virus showing coronas with labels depicting each partThis illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. (public domain --provided by the CDC)

The Georgia Department of Public Health issued the following press release asking Georgia residents to only go to hospital emergency rooms for COVID testing if their symptoms are severe.

Atlanta – To help keep hospital emergency departments open to treat medical emergencies, individuals seeking COVID testing should not go to hospital emergency departments, unless they are experiencing severe COVID-19 symptoms requiring urgent medical attention. Asymptomatic individuals or individuals with mild symptoms should find testing sites other than hospital emergency departments.

COVID-19 testing locations are available throughout Georgia and can be found on the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) website at https://dph.georgia.gov/covidtesting. We are working with our lab partners to expand testing hours and add testing sites, however, lines will continue to be long as thousands of Georgians want to get tested.

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To help alleviate delays at testing sites, it is critical that people register BEFORE going to a DPH test site. Online registration (https://dph.georgia.gov/covidtesting) will help alleviate back-ups at test sites and free up staff to do more testing if they aren’t doing registration paperwork. 

COVID vaccination is available statewide and is our best tool for ending this pandemic and reducing the overwhelming strain on the healthcare system and healthcare providers. To find a COVID vaccination location, visit https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-vaccine. Georgians aged 5 and older are eligible for vaccination. Georgians 16 and older are eligible for boosters six months after completing their primary vaccine series of either Moderna or Pfizer (only Pfizer is authorized for booster doses in 16- and 17- year-olds) and two months after their J&J vaccine.

Basic prevention measures should also be followed to help prevent further spread of COVID and mitigate outbreaks of infection, especially in public settings: wear a mask, physically distance, and wash your hands frequently with soap and water.

In a video discussion between Cobb County Board of Commissioners Chairwoman Lisa Cupid and Dr. Janet Memark, the District Health Director for Cobb & Douglas Public Health, Memark asked residents to also avoid going to county testing sites for mild symptoms and to isolate at home instead because the testing centers in the county were overwhelmed.

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