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A large drive-through Covid-19 testing site will open Thursday at the Georgia International Horse Park.

CONYERS — A large drive-through Covid-19 testing site will open Thursday at the Georgia International Horse Park. Testing at the site will be by appointment only and is open to anyone in the general public who believes they are ill with COVID-19.

According to Chad Wasdin, communications director for the Gwinnett Rockdale Newton Health Departments, due to increased testing capacity, up to 300 appointments are now being scheduled for anyone who thinks they may be ill with the virus. While the Health Department requires a scheduled appointment to test individuals, referral from a doctor is not necessary. There is no charge for the testing, and those tested do not need to provide health insurance information.

“We look forward to piloting this large-scale test site,” said Dr. Audrey Arona, district health director and CEO of Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale County Health Departments. “This is a fantastic collaboration between Rockdale and Newton county governments, their EMAs, and the Health Department. Testing will provide individuals in the community an opportunity to learn if their illness is consistent with the COVID-19 virus, and it will help us improve our plans for providing large-scale testing.”

Since the Health Department first started testing on March 17, more than 1,100 have been tested. Initially, testing was available only to first responders, elderly individuals with chronic medical conditions as well as their cargivers, and individuals living or working in a congregate setting (i.e. nursing homes, long-term care facilities, etc). Now that laboratory capacity to process the tests has increased, the Health Department is opening testing to any sick individual in the general public who thinks they may be ill with COVID-19.

To ensure enough test kits are available, the Health Department will only test individuals that have a scheduled appointment. Interested individuals should call 770-513-5631 to find out if they’re eligible and to schedule a time for their appointment. Transportation to and from the testing site is required.

Wasdin said four drive-through lines will be set up at the horse park. Those being tested will stop at a check-in point, then pull up to the swab station where a medical provider will collect a nasal swab while the individual remains in their vehicle. Those tested will then pull up to a discharge station where they will be provided with information.

“There will be signage, so it will be really understandable for people,” Wasdin said.

Test results will be available after 48 hours. Health Department staff will call individuals who receive a positive result; however, all individuals tested can retrieve their test results via the LapCorp patient portal. Instructions on how to access test results will be provided before individuals leave the testing location.

More information is available on the Health Department’s website at www.gnrhealth.com/covid-19-info. Additional information about COVID-19 can be found at dph.georgia.gov and www.cdc.gov/covid-19.

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