Coronavirus testing megasite at Atlanta airport closes

08/10/2020 - College Park, Georgia - Gov. Brian Kemp (left) speaks with U.S. Surgeon General Vice Admiral Jerome M. Adams (right) before the start of a press conference at a drive-thru COVID-19 testing clinic located in a Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport paid parking facility in College Park, Monday, August 10, 2020. Both GOv. Kemp and Vice Admiral Adams encouraged Georgians to where a mask to combat the spread of COVID-19.  (ALYSSA POINTER / ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)
08/10/2020 - College Park, Georgia - Gov. Brian Kemp (left) speaks with U.S. Surgeon General Vice Admiral Jerome M. Adams (right) before the start of a press conference at a drive-thru COVID-19 testing clinic located in a Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport paid parking facility in College Park, Monday, August 10, 2020. Both GOv. Kemp and Vice Admiral Adams encouraged Georgians to where a mask to combat the spread of COVID-19. (ALYSSA POINTER / ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)

Credit: ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM

Credit: ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM

A coronavirus testing “megasite” near the Atlanta airport that opened last month to provide a temporary boost to testing capacity in the south metro will be closed after Friday, officials said, citing declining demand.

But officials continue to urge Georgians to seek a COVID-19 test, particularly following the Labor Day weekend. They say testing centers operated by state and local health authorities have sufficient capacity to absorb additional demand.

A coalition of local, state and federal agencies opened the airport site Aug. 10, intending for it to operate through Aug. 26. But officials later extended operations to Friday.

The airport site opened with the capacity to perform 5,000 tests per day, but in its four weeks of operation, demand never reached that level. According to data from the state Department of Public Health, nearly 18,000 tests were conducted there through Thursday, peaking at 1,446 on Aug. 12.

Testing demand statewide has declined along with a decrease in COVID-19 cases since late July.

In an email, Candice Broce, a spokeswoman for Gov. Brian Kemp, said the airport megasite could be reopened if demand warrants.

On Thursday, Kemp and Dr. Kathleen Toomey, the state’s public health commissioner, urged Georgians to get tested for the coronavirus, particularly if they attended large gatherings over the Labor Day weekend.

To find a testing site and book an appointment, residents can visit the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) testing website or http://doineedacovid19test.com.