With COVID-19 spike, AU gears up for more testing downtown

Published: Jul. 17, 2020 at 6:26 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - As we see more cases of COVID-19, AU Health is upgrading one of its mobile testing sites as they try to ramp up testing.

AU Health has completely revamped their testing site, moving it from Christenberry Fieldhouse to downtown Augusta. It looks different from the last one, and it’s said to be unique not only for the area, but for the state.

The line of growing cars -- matching the rise in growing cases.

“The demand for testing has been enormous. We have continued to expand our hours we are providing testing in order to meet the needs of the community. Most days we are exceeding 700 tests a day,” Dr. Phillip Coule, chief medical officer at AU Health, said.

Coule says the new location matches the needs. It’s also closer to the expressway and to South Carolina.

The enclosed space offers staff a shield for bad weather and the heat and gives patients more privacy. It also fits up to six cars inside, which means testing can move faster and more tests can be done in a day.

“This is a permanent fixed facility, it’s not a tent. We know we’re in this for the long haul and we have to do this in order to support our community,” Coule said.

Coule says while there’s a bit of a delay in appointments for testing, results are still coming back within 24 hours. Keeping up has been the biggest challenge.

“We are seeing an increase in hospitalizations and in the strain on our intensive care units 40 were able to meet the demand, but it is putting a stress on the system. 44 it is like a really bad terrible flu season right now in the middle of the summer. 48

In Georgia, confirmed cases tip over 131,000. The spike in Richmond County places us over the 2,000 mark.

In just the past 10 days, Richmond County added more than 500 positive results. That number nears 350 in Columbia County, and tips over 350 in Aiken County.

AU Health is nearing 30,000 tests to date, and there are less than 5 pending.

Remember, if you go to the new site to get tested, you need to make an appointment in advance. To make an appointment, you can call the health system's hotline at 706-721-1852.

Coule says they are also looking for additional testing options and locations for Columbia County as they plan to discontinue testing at Patriots Park for similar reasons.

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