On Sunday, April 26, Dawson County’s Emergency Management Agency, the Georgia Army National Guard and Augusta Medical Center, opened a COVID-19 testing site at Rock Creek Park.
At a press conference on Sunday. Dawson County Fire Chief and EMA Director Danny Thompson told media representatives that the testing site was opened in response to pleas from the community and has been in the works for several weeks.
“We’ve been working diligently with our public health department and with the national guard for several weeks now to make this happen at this facility,” Thompson said. “This will continue until both the National Guard and Augusta Medical have determined that this site is no longer needed or they wish to transition resources.”
Sunday was the first day the site was open to the community and an initial 200 test kits were provided to the site by the National Guard. Within the first hour of operation, nearly 50 of the tests had been administered.
Patients were directed into the park by members of the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office and met by medical staff who conducted the tests without patients having to leave their vehicles.
“We’re here to support the community per Governor Kemp’s instructions, and we’ve got volunteer Georgian soldiers who are out here helping fellow Georgians, conducting testing as requested and helping us to flatten the curve of COVID-19,” National Guard Capt. Ben Thomas said during the conference.
For the test site moving forward, the hope is to schedule most of the tests on an appointment basis, officials said.
“We have an app that will allow everybody to have a face-to-face interaction with a physician or nurse practitioner and they will get you scheduled for an appointment to show up here at the testing center,” Kyndra Holm, a nurse with Augusta Medical Center, said. “With that appointment, you’ll show up at your scheduled time and be tested, the test will be run at a hospital in Augusta, and you’ll be notified of your results within 72 hours.”
Individuals who test positive for the virus will receive further instructions from medical personnel, she said.
The number of tests provided by the National Guard each day will correlate to how many appointments are made beforehand, according to Thompson.
“Those appointments drive the number of test kits that we can get here daily, and the test kits are really the supply and demand,” Thompson said. “The more need that we have for it, the more test kits the National Guard can get for the citizens in the community.”
The test site will be open 7 days a week, and testing will take place between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
For instructions on the app and scheduling a COVID-19 test, visit www.augustahealth.org/COVID19. For those without the ability to visit the website or download the app, Augusta Medical also has a COVID-19 hotline at 706-721-1852.
Updates on the testing site will be posted on the Dawson County Fire and Emergency Services Facebook page and the Dawson County Government Facebook page. Citizens can also call (706)344-3666 for the most up-to-date information about the test site.