TIFTON, Ga. (WALB) - Tift Regional Health leaders tested over 100 people for COVID-19 at its drive-thru testing site on its first day of reopening.
Tift Regional Medical Center has reopened its COVID-19 drive-thru testing site at the Tift Regional Community Events Center on South Carpenter Road, near the YMCA, but it’s separate from any and all testing officials said.
As of Wednesday afternoon, during the site’s first day back, traffic was steady.
“We started off with patients waiting on us this morning and we’ve gone through about 120 so far today,” said Carla Hall who works on-site and is the director of medical clinics.
Some of the test results are coming back in about 20 minutes.
If you’re feeling symptomatic and your test comes back negative, they will send it off for further testing, just to be sure.
“We’ve done about 45 of the rapid antigen tests and 40 percent of those have come back positive so far,” said Hall.
That means around 60 percent were sent out for further testing for COVID-19.
Officials said once you arrive on-site, you just follow the signs and remain in your vehicle.
They said the drive-thru site will help serve many purposes.
“Identifying those patients in the community, identifying early treatment plans for those patients if that is possible. We want to offload the ER as much as possible. Our ER is very full right now. Our hospital is full, our ER and ICU is full and we’re trying to treat those patients in an alternative setting,” Hall explained.
They expect the drive-thru to be busy over the next month.
Hall said there is no end date set at the moment, but the drive-thru will remain open until it is no longer needed in Tift County.
It’s open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 pm. Patients are asked to bring identification.
Leaders sent out a press release Wednesday on the subject.
They are also making changes to their visitation policy.
The policy statements from the release are below:
Beginning Wednesday, December 30th, visitation is suspended at all Southwell facilities, including Tift Regional Medical Center and Southwell Medical.
“We recognize that support from friends and family can play a positive role in the healing process,” said Alex Le, the chief operating officer and vice president for Tift Regional Health System. “We encourage all friends and family to utilize other forms of communication, including phone and video calls on cell phones and mobile devices. We also have patient representatives on-hand to provide assistance in communicating with patients as well.”
Le said there are some exceptions to the no visitor rule. Obstetric patients may have one partner during their stay, patients who are under the age of 18 may have two parents or guardians, patients undergoing surgery or a procedure may have one visitor on-site during the actual procedure/surgery and the patient’s attending physician can order a special exception as appropriate.