Bringing the access of coronavirus testing to the people
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
News 12 at 11 o'clock/NBC at 12
AUGUSTA, GA. (WRDW/WAGT) – New drive-thru testing locations in the area are all about bringing more access to people in the county.
One located by the Columbia County Exhibition Center and another not too far away at Patriots Park. As these tents go up, more and more people get tested.
MedNow has been partnering with Columbia County to bring access to people near and far at the center.
"The anxiety that's out there in the public. A lot of that's just from not knowing,” Dr. Mark Newton, CEO of MedNow, said. "We do think that by just being off of 120, that'll allow people especially in the county but not exclusive in the county that are in those rural areas that aren't as blessed as we are with access to medical facilities to have a way to get tested themselves."
It's also why Augusta University Health did, too. After seeing how far the reach on their telemedicine app was, the institution decided to set up shop at Patriots Park.
Dr. Phillip Coule, Chief Medical Officer at AU, says they are preparing for a surge as testing becomes more available.
"We are doing everything right to bend the curve. The community is doing everything right,” Coule said.
The good news: out of their 17 positive cases, only 2 people were hospitalized.
Their fear: Columbia County doesn't have a hospital, and the medical community faces a shortage of beds and ventilators.
"Where would we go when we needed that additional capacity,” Katrina Keefer, AU Health CEO, said. “Whether its beds, we want to avoid structures in the halls, in a period of about a week, we hope to have a 24 bed swing unit that we could use for overflow."
And right now, for all medical institutions, it's all about finding out the positives and stopping the spread.
Both the MedNow and AU drive-thru testing operate the same way. People must have completed a pre-screening and be prompted to set up an appointment to go to the testing locations.