City looks to do more in efforts to reach as many as possible with COVID-19 tests

Friday, May 15, 2020
News 12 at 6 O'Clock/NBC at 7

Four-hundred COVID-19 tests were made during a pop-up site in Harrisburg, but the city says they want to do even more. It’s all part of the city’s effort to reach as many people as possible in Augusta. (Source: WRDW)

AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW/WAGT) -- Four-hundred COVID-19 tests were made during a pop-up site in Harrisburg, but the city says they want to do even more. It’s all part of the city’s effort to reach as many people as possible in Augusta.

“We’ve got to test, trace, treat and isolate. Get people healthy, get people safe," Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis said.

And it looks a lot like this: public health, the National Guard, and emergency management all stationed within the community. They set up shop in an Augusta under-served neighborhood. Anyone was eligible to get swabbed for free and without pre-qualifications.

“So the more testing that we’re doing, the thought is, the more likely it’ll help us bring this under some type of control," Augusta Fire/EMA Chief Chris James said.

Richmond County Department of Public Health officials say even with the increase of testing, there’s been a plateau. The last site tested nearly 300 people, but only resulted in five confirmed positives.

“We’re going to do this testing as long as it’s necessary. It is outstanding that we can get to 400," James said.

The city says they’ll do weekly pop-ups across town. Once they feel confident on mobile COVID-19 testing, they’ll add in mobile anti-body testing.

“That helps you mark the timeline as to if I had it, if I never had it, and how to curtail your behavior from that point forward," James said.

But it could be weeks before labs make enough kits.

Although the numbers indicate our area made progress in its capabilities to test and declined in confirmed cases, leaders stress whatever strides exist do so because of previous safety measures.

If lines are any indication of curves, the city is hoping the turnout Friday points to a better tomorrow.

“We have to continue to amplify that ramp those test that so that we can get our arms around this and when you’re able to do that, we cannot only stop the spread of the virus but flatten the curve," James said.

Next week’s testing location will be at Good Sheppard Baptist Church.

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