Dougherty Co. testing site seeing hundreds of people a day after Christmas holiday
ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - If you went and got tested for COVID-19 after the holiday, you may have waited 3-4 days for your results instead of 1-2 days as usual.
The Dougherty County Health Department said that’s because of a backlog of tests going to the lab.
A testing site in Dougherty County is seeing hundreds of people a day. That’s opposed to the 30-50 they were testing before the holidays.
Health Department Director Vamella Lovett said it’s a trend that started two days after Christmas.
“I think a lot of people during the holidays got together celebrating and that caused them to either have symptoms or maybe come in contact with someone who had tested positive,” said Lovett.
She said some others coming to get tested don’t have symptoms but are testing out of caution.
“They don’t need to come, because it just takes away resources from those who really need to be tested,” Lovett said.
Two days after Christmas at this site alone, 189 people got tested. Out of those, 23 were positive.
Now, the number of people being tested is substantially higher. And has stayed in the hundreds.
On Tuesday, 434 people got tested. The results of those tests aren’t back yet because of a backlog of tests going to a lab. Generally, the positivity rate has been between 10-17%.
“The turnaround time was 24-48 hours. Now, it’s longer than that especially, due to the holidays and the influx of people coming to get tested,” said Lovett.
She said this influx of people getting tested is something they’re seeing statewide.
“We’re hoping it will get to about 72 hours once they get caught up,” said Lovett.
Southwest Health District Dr. Charles Ruis said if you have COVID-like symptoms, that’s when you should get tested. Those are cough, fever, shortness of breath, and loss of smell or taste.
“We would assume they have COVID until proven otherwise with a test,” said Ruis.
If you do test positive, Ruis said your five-day isolation period would start the day you had symptoms, not the day of the positive test.
Ruis said the best way to stay healthy is to get a COVID 19 vaccine.
“Vaccines are not perfect. People can still get COVID if they’re vaccinated. The best way to avoid having to be hospitalized is to get vaccinated and get boosted when eligible to do so,” said Ruis.
Officials said they are confident they have enough supplies to continue testing, but they do ask you only get tested if you have symptoms or if you’ve been around someone who’s tested positive.
The site is at 1150 West Oakridge Drive. It’s open Monday-Friday, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., and it’s free. They do ask you pre-register online to make your trip faster.
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