New coronavirus testing guidelines in Georgia

Gov. Brian Kemp started the week saying testing needed to be expanded in Georgia. On Tuesday, new guidelines were released by health officials outlining who should be tested.

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In the Northeast Health District, based in Athens, those individuals now include:

• People with symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath):

• Healthcare workers, first responders, and other critical infrastructure workers

• Persons residing in long-term care facilities or other group residential settings

• Persons 65 years of age and older

• Persons with underlying medical conditions

• Household members or caregivers of any of the groups above

• People with symptoms who are not a part of any of the groups above may also be approved for testing, as capacity allows

• People without symptoms who fall into the following categories (if capacity allows):

• Healthcare workers, first responders, and other critical infrastructure workers that have been exposed to COVID-19

• Residents of a long-term care facility or other groups residential setting experiencing an outbreak of COVID-19

“The newly expanded criteria will allow us to identify more cases in the community, which will help protect our most vulnerable and guide future strategies aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19,” explained Whitney Howell, Clinical and Nursing Director for the Northeast Health District in a release sent to FOX 5 News.

The district includes Barrow, Clarke, Elbert, Greene, Jackson, Madison, Morgan, Oconee, Oglethorpe, and Walton counties.

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Anyone within those counties can call 706-340-0996 to see if they qualify and to schedule screening. That hotline is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and from 8:30 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.

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Know how the COVID-19 outbreak is impacting Georiga

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


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