Phoebe Putney Health System in Albany on Monday, March 16, 2020, set up a tent for drive-through testing for COVID-19 and its virus, the novel coronavirus. Courtesy of Phoebe Putney H.S.
Photo: Courtesy of Phoebe Putney H.S.
Photo: Courtesy of Phoebe Putney H.S.

Walmart, state to open new COVID-19 test center to serve rural Georgia

Walmart, a federal health contractor and the state are partnering to bring a new drive-through coronavirus testing service to sites in South, central and east Georgia.

Gov. Brian Kemp’s office on Sunday announced Walmart and contractor eTrueNorth will operate drive-through testing sites that will rotate between the cities of Tifton, Milledgeville and Hephzibah, a small town near Augusta.

“Serving Augusta, Milledgeville, Tifton, and the surrounding regions, this mobile unit will be a game-changing step in our efforts to ensure access to COVID-19 across Georgia,” Kemp said in a news release. “Increased testing is critical as we continue the measured process of safely reopening parts of our state, and I am grateful to our many partners with Walmart, eTrueNorth, and in these communities which provided support to get this operation online.”

» COMPLETE COVERAGE: Coronavirus in Georgia

The test site will launch Monday at Diamond Lakes Regional Park, 4335 Windsor Spring Road in Hephzibah. Weather permitting, it will operate Mondays and Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

On Wednesdays and Saturdays, it will operate from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 240 Lawrence Rd. in Milledgeville.

On Thursdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., it will operate at the Tift County National Guard Armory at 3111 U.S. 41 South, in Tifton.

Georgians experiencing COVID-19 symptoms can get a test with an appointment. First responders and health care workers can receive a test with an appointment whether or not they are experiencing symptoms, the release said.

An appointment for a test can be made at www.DoINeedACOVID19Test.com.

Kemp has made it a priority to expand testing in Georgia, which has lagged behind many other states in testing on a per capita basis. Public health experts say Georgia and other states need a substantial ramp up in testing to help isolate the virus and future outbreaks.

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