Coronavirus test center open in Gwinnett for all with symptoms

CVS nurse Alicia Robinson (R) takes the temperature of other CVS employees during the check-in procedure for the opening of the COVID-19 drive-through testing center in Atlanta, April 6, 2020. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Credit: Steve Schaefer

A drive-through COVID-19 testing center is now open in Gwinnett County for anyone who is experiencing symptoms  — with no doctor's orders necessary.

The Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale County Health Department has been testing symptomatic people in high-risk populations — seniors, medical personnel and first responders — for weeks. But beginning Wednesday the department is offering tests to more people, said Chad Wasdin, the department’s spokesman.

“We’re really excited to be able to expand testing,” Wasdin said. “We know people have a lot of anxiety if they’re experiencing symptoms, whether it’s COVID-19 or not, so we’re really happy to help people get those test results.”

The Georgia Department of Health announced Tuesday that all symptomatic people in Georgia will be eligible for testing, though healthcare workers, law enforcement and the residents and staff of long-term care facilities will still be prioritized.

The Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale County Health Department is conducting up to 200 tests a day Monday through Friday at its district office in Lawrenceville. The tests are done by appointment only, and those who wish to get tested should call 770-513-5631. People who show up without an appointment will not be tested.

Tests could be done on the same day a call is made or within three days, depending on demand and the number of available tests. Tests are “completely free,” and no billing or insurance information is taken from those tested, Wasdin said.

Test results are generally available within 48 hours and are communicated to the patient by the health department.

No doctor’s referral is needed to get a testing appointment, though it can be used to get one. Anyone experiencing symptoms associated with coronavirus — cough, shortness of breath, fever — can call the testing hotline. A health department employee will schedule callers with symptoms to get tested.

Those without symptoms who believe they may have been exposed to the virus are not eligible to be tested unless they are in a high risk population, Wasdin said. Those people should follow Centers for Disease Control and Disease Prevention guidelines and self-quarantine for 14 days, Wasdin said. If symptoms develop, they would be able to get tested.

The regional health department is working to continue expanding its testing capabilities with larger-scale standalone testing events.

It’s holding a one-day testing event at the Conyers International Horse Park on Thursday, where up to 400 tests will be conducted. There may also be a similar event held at the Infinite Energy Center in the near future, but it has not been finalized, Wasdin said.

You don't need a doctors referral, you just need to make an appointment.