Drive up testing at the North Georgia Health District’s pop-up COVID-19 testing last week at Mt. Zion Baptist Church. While hosted by the Georgia Department of Public Health, several local agencies including the Pickens Sheriff’s Office, the Pickens County government, and Pickens County emergency services were also on site.
According to North Georgia Health District Public Information Officer Jennifer King, 37 people were tested at Mt. Zion Baptist Church last Wednesday, May 6 during a pop-up COVID-19 testing initiative of the Georgia Department of Public Health.
Another pop-up test was held at the same location the following Wednesday, May 13 just after press time.
“We want to make testing as accessible and easy for people as possible,” King said, “and break down those barriers and get people tested. The best part about this is these are free to the public, which is not the case if you have these tests done other places.”
King said while the first pop-up test in Pickens was reserved for people who were symptomatic or other priority groups like healthcare workers or law enforcement, anyone can register from this point on.
“Even though we emphasize the priority groups and the importance that they be tested, we are definitely now registering anyone who wishes to be tested,” she said.
Pop-up sites are determined on a week-to-week basis and will be determined by need. The North Georgia Health District has three permanent COVID-19 testing locations in the region at the health departments in Cherokee and Whitfield counties, and at ETC Communications in Gilmer County.
In Fannin County last week for their pop-up, 39 tests were performed. And in Murray County, 31 tests. Incidentally, Fannin had their second pop-up testing Monday and performed 29 tests.
Tests are nasal swab sample collections. The state public health department aims for a two to three day turnaround, but King said that time could be longer with the increase number of testing.
For pop-up site testing, she reiterated the importance of registering ahead of time by calling 1-888-881-1474.
When asked how long pop-up testing will continue, the PIO officer said it was at the discrimination of the health director, but, “would likely continue until people want access to that testing and where we determine the need is.”
According to the Georgia Department of Public Health’s Daily COVID-19 status, as of Tuesday, May 12th there are 35 confirmed cases in Pickens County. Two people from Pickens County have died as a result of the virus and nine have been hospitalized.
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