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COVID-19 testing sites seeing greater demand, some returning to shorter wait times

COVID-19 Metro ATL Trending

COVID-19 testing sites seeing greater demand, some returning to shorter wait times

The Dekalb County Board of Health COVID-19 testing site located in the parking lot of The Greater Piney Grove Baptist Church in Atlanta, July 21, 2020. Photo by Dean Hesse

Atlanta, GA — As demand for COVID-19 tests increases, those seeking a test experienced long lines at testing sites and have struggled to find at-home tests. After the holidays, there were almost daily posts in neighborhood Facebook groups of people asking where they could quickly get tested or where they could find an at-home COVID test.

“The wait was due to the sudden and massive surge in demand for testing,” said Dr. Benjamin Lefkove, co-founder and CEO of Viral Solutions. “We did not experience any supply chain issues for the PCR tests. Additionally, staff burnout and multiple staff members sick with COVID-19 (which is something seen across society) led to additional challenges.”

He added that Viral Solutions remains dedicated to providing testing to anyone who needs it.

“Currently, the wait time is much shorter than during the peak of the surge,” Lefkove said. “We have added capacity at our sites, and are now staffing [Department of Public Health] mega sites.”

The DeKalb County Board of Health also has not been notified by its testing partners of any known supply chain issue with COVID-19 testing kits. Although, demand for COVID-19 testing remained high at the beginning of the month. 

“To minimize wait times, our testing partners are requiring appointments at both sites,” a spokesperson for the DeKalb Board of Health said. “By doing this, they are ensuring that the testing resources on hand are reserved for those who have registered or scheduled an appointment for a particular day. We have coordinated with our state and local partners to increase staffing and security at the sites. Our partners are committed to providing the highest quality care for all patients.”

To schedule an appointment, click here.

DeKalb County’s testing sites are operated by Mako Medical Laboratories and LTS Health.

“Both partners are operating on their normal schedule,” the spokesperson said. “The Greater Piney Grove site is open Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m., while the North DeKalb site is open Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.”

But when should people get tested? 

Lefkove said people should get tested if they feel sick or had a significant exposure to COVID-19, especially if they are unvaccinated. 

“If you think you have COVID, you should get tested,” he added.

The DeKalb Board of Health recommends individuals follow the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The CDC recommends people should get tested if they have symptoms of COVID-19 and those who have come into close contact with someone who has COVID-19. The CDC additionally recommends that individuals not up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccines who are prioritized for expanded community screening for COVID-19 get tested. 

The Biden administration recently launched a COVID-19 test kit website and is now accepting orders. Residential households can place one order per residential address. Each order contains four at-home rapid COVID-19 tests. Orders are placed through the United States Postal Service and will ship for free starting in late January.

To place an order, click here.

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