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COVID testing sites increase, but access can be tricky

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NORTH METRO ATLANTA, Ga. — Testing for COVID-19 has expanded throughout the region with public and private organizations providing screenings for the virus.

Many testing sites are free, and most others accept insurance or self-pay at reduced rates.

Still, testing can be tricky.

Some sites are booked to overflowing, and you may find getting an appointment difficult.

Or, you can suffer the fate of Elisabeth Landry of Dunwoody.

Landry, 82, was set to have back surgery July 9, so she took the initiative to get tested beforehand. But, after seven weeks and numerous attempts, she and her husband have failed.

On May 20, Landry made an appointment and was tested at a local church facility and said the process “worked very well.” However, three weeks passed, and she still had not received the results.

Landry said “in her frustration,” she reached out to Dunwoody Mayor Lynn Deutsch, who put her in contact with a nurse heading the testing site. Landry was told there was no record of her results.

She made another appointment on June 19 at the same facility, but after arriving with her husband, she was informed testing was no longer available.

Landry and her husband used the Dekalb County Health Department’s website to find another testing site, she said.

But her frustrations continued when she showed up to a Norcross clinic and discovered that site had also ceased testing. Landry said another testing site along Peachtree Industrial Boulevard had such an extensive line, she was told she could not be tested that day.

As a last resort, she contacted her internist at Emory St. Joseph’s and was told the hospital did not have the supplies to test her, Landry said.

Landry did discover having a coronavirus test was not a prerequisite to her surgery, but that did not alleviate her frustration.

“I am fairly active and have contacts who could help me, but can you imagine someone living by themselves who does not drive trying to figure this out for themselves — impossible,” Landry said.

With the current state of affairs, it pays to confirm appointments online.

To help alleviate the strain on the system, some organizations have introduced one-day or special testing sites, but, in some cases, test supplies run out quickly.

The City of Roswell, partnering with the Fulton County Health Department, planned two days of testing at City Hall July 7-8. The site closed after the first day.

This weekend, St. James UMC will be offering drive-thru testing for COVID-19 on July 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at its church on Webb Bridge Road. Tests offered include COVID-19 and/or rapid pathogen panel. Results will be provided within 3 days. The church says no one will be turned away, but they are asking visitors to bring their insurance cards and state issued ID.

Because the demand for testing has increased along with the growth in positive results, most testing sites require appointments.

The best source for updated information on testing is through the Georgia Department of Public Health website, dph.georgia.gov/. You can also check with your local health department or pharmacy.

 

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