March 17, 2020 Marietta: Health department officials are setting up for the drive-thru testing of coronavirus in Jim Miller Park at the Cobb County Outdoor Arena on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, in Marietta. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

Drive-thru coronavirus testing site for high-risk workers to open in Cobb

A Cobb County park will soon become a coronavirus “drive-through” testing site to provide a speedy and safe location for testing high-risk workers in the community.

Dr. Janet Memark, district director of the Cobb & Douglas Public Health Department, told Cobb County commissioners Monday that Jim Miller Park on Callaway Road south of Marietta will serve as a location for the testing in Cobb.

The park was being set up Tuesday to receive the traffic, with a medical trailer and some traffic signs. County spokesman Ross Cavitt said the goal is to open the site by midday Wednesday.

March 17, 2020 Marietta: Health department officials are setting up for the drive-thru testing of coronavirus in Jim Miller Park with a medical trailer seen at the Cobb County Outdoor Arena inside the park on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, in Marietta. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

However, this doesn’t mean you should make the trip to the park to be tested. Dr. Memark said the testing will not be available to the general public. Instead, the testing there will be for people who would have the greatest chances of infecting many people in the community, such as healthcare, teachers, nursing home residents and first responders.

“They are looking at the high-risk populations to start,” Dr. Memark said.

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Valerie Crow, director of communications with the Cobb & Douglas Public Health Department, said in a statement, “Cobb & Douglas Public Health is working with federal, state and local partners to expand COVID-19 testing in our community as rapidly as possible.” She said the state will finalize guidelines this week and it expects the shipment of kits to begin soon after. 

Dr. Memark said it’s unclear how many testing kits will be available at the site, but said that anyone who has been ordered to receive testing will be given a control number by their doctor. They must present the control number before they receive the test.

Dr. Kathleen Toomey, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health, said Tuesday in a press conference held by Gov. Brian Kemp that the state still doesn’t “have sufficient testing capacity to test people who have mild symptoms.”

“We [want to] set up testing capabilities in all of our health districts so we can ensure those who most need testing have access to it through their private provider or their testing sites,” Dr. Toomey said.

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Lisa Crossman, deputy director of the Cobb and Douglas health department, said testing will be used to ensure the virus is not spreading in the community. However, residents are still encouraged to practice social distancing and stay home if they are not feeling well.

She also stressed that a person’s “plan of care would be the same,” no matter if they are tested after showing symptoms or were not tested. The recommended next step would be for a person to self-quarantine at home.

“Every resident in the community can do their part,” she said.

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