MARIETTA, Ga. - Georgia's first drive-thru COVID-19 testing site began, receiving participants at Jim Miller Park in Marietta on Wednesday afternoon.
"Today we are starting with pre-approved testing of high-risk individuals," Dr. Janet Memark, who is the Public Health Director for Cobb and Douglas Counties, told FOX 5's Deidra Dukes.
Dr. Memark says the site received less than 50 testing kits, so high-risk individuals who interact with a large number of people like health care workers, nursing home staff, and public safety workers will receive priority.
"The state is working on increasing that number and capability as we speak so as we ramp up getting testing supplies we can ramp up being able to test more people."
With a limited number of testing kits available, the service is not open to the general public.
Those who are being seen here have been pre-screened by a physician, and their case referred to the Cobb Public Health Department.
Health officials then follow up with those individuals scheduling them for a COVID-19 swab test. As the state works to secure more testing kits, Cobb County Chairman Mike Boyce is urging the public to limit social interaction to reduce their risk of getting infected. "I'm telling people, stay at home if you don't have the symptoms, self-quarantine, or if you think you have it stay home unless it gets real serious then go to your doctor."
As of Wednesday afternoon, there were 197 confirmed cases of the virus in Georgia. FOX 5 learned three additional people in the state died Wednesday related to COVID-19, bringing the total number of deaths to four.
Gov. Brian Kemp declared a public health emergency for the State of Georgia in response to the coronavirus outbreak, allowing resources to be marshaled for the treatment and mitigation of the virus. Kemp continued on Monday by issuing an executive order closing all public schools until March 31.
Public health officials have urged social distancing to slow down or stop the spread of coronavirus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults who are 60+ and people with serious medical conditioners, such as heart disease and diabetes, are at higher risk of getting very sick from coronavirus.
Best prevention measures:
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least twenty seconds.
- If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces