2-state COVID testing sites see post-Christmas surge in demand

Published: Dec. 27, 2021 at 2:32 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - As the ultra-contagious omicron variant of coronavirus sweeps the nation and two-state region, local COVID testing sites are seeing an influx of people.

There was a line outside the parking lot Monday at the Augusta University Medical Center testing site run by the Georgia Department of Public Health.

And the situation was similar across the Savannah River in South Carolina.

At the AU Medical Center testing site, the wait was about an hour around midday Monday.

DPH is working to increase staffing at testing sites because demand is so high, according to officials.

For every car that pulled up, workers were informing the occupants of alternative testing locations because the wait is so long.

Many people were turning around after hearing the news.

Monday wasn’t the first time for cars to line up at the site. Demand started growing last week ahead of Christmas, as people worried about spreading the variant at family gatherings. The constant flow of cars on Thursday was the busiest the site had been in the past two months.

Meanwhile in Columbia, S.C., a COVID-19 testing line that took people about five minutes to get through a week ago was taking some people more than an hour. And lines wrapped around parking lots at South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control testing sites in the Charleston area.

“I’ve never seen the line like this before since I’ve been tested,” said Shawnita Phillips, who gets tested at DHEC’s Bull Street testing site in Columbia every week for work. “My son came yesterday and they said they waited for an hour. Today, I’m on a break, I think I’m going to surpass my break.”

However, the lines are worth it for most in exchange for a bit of reassurance.

“I just woke up this morning with a little tingly sore throat. I figured better to feel safe than sorry,” said Columbia resident Derek Anders-Turner.

Testing in Georgia

In addition to boosting staffing, the Georgia Department of Public Health is extending testing hours at several sites across the region. People can register for testing at the websites listed below or call 706-721-5800 for additional information.

DPH testing locations include:

  • Richmond County Health Department, 1916 North Leg Road, Augusta: Monday through Friday, including Jan. 3; 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Register at ecphd.com/covidtesting.
  • Augusta University Medical Center, 524 15th St., Augusta: Monday through Saturday except Jan. 1; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Register at https://ecphd.com/aumc-covidtesting.
  • Emanuel County Medical Center, 117 Kite Road, Swainsboro: Monday, Wednesday and Friday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Register at https://honumg.info/LTSGA014
  • Screven County Health Department, 416 Pine St., Sylvania: Tuesdays 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Register at https://honumg.info/LTSGA033.

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