Public health COVID-19 testing will soon only be offered through two regional sites so that other counties can focus more on the vaccination effort.
“We have to shift our priorities to better meet the demand for COVID-19 vaccine,” said Coastal Georgia District Health Director, Dr. Lawton Davis.
Beginning February 1st, all COVID-19 testing services by the Coastal Health District will shift to two regional testing sites, the existing Savannah Civic Center drive-through site in Chatham and one in Glynn county.
The Civic Center site continues to be a popular one, with 608 people tested there Monday.
Public Health will no longer offer COVID-19 testing in Bryan, Camden, Effingham, Liberty, Long, and McIntosh counties after this week.
“There are other many other locations now, throughout the district where people can go and have a test performed,” Davis said. “Public Health is not the only game in town. We tried to offer it once a week in every location and throughout the district. But in those same counties, there also are not a whole lot of other people who can provide the vaccinations. And so we just think, at this point in time, it’s more important to focus on vaccinating the vulnerable eligible population than it is on testing the population.”
More: Numbers to call and web sites to check for making an appointment for a COVID vaccine in Chatham
In addition to public health sites, COVID-19 testing is also available through many private providers, pharmacies, urgent care centers, and health clinics.
Some offer rapid testing and many will file private insurance claims for reimbursement resulting in no out-of-pocket cost to the consumer. CVS, for example, writes on its web site that uninsured patients will also be covered: “If you do not have insurance, we will ask you for your Social Security number (card not needed), driver’s license or state ID to submit the cost of your test to the federal program for the uninsured.”
J.C. Lewis Primary Health Care Center and Curtis V. Cooper Primary Health Care also provide COVID-19 testing.
Testing at the Savannah Civic Center in Chatham County does not require an appointment, but you must preregister at the web site at http://bit.ly/Civiccentertesting. Once you are registered you can be tested any time the site is operational.
More: Dr. Lawton Davis discusses COVID vaccine rollout in Chatham County so far
If you need assistance with pre-registration, call the COVID-19 Testing Call Center Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. at 1-912-230-9744.
Testing is offered at the Savannah Civic Center at 301 West Oglethorpe Avenue in downtown Savannah.
Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Every first and third Saturday of the month from 8:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Testing at the Glynn County Health Department is by appointment only.
The COVID-19 Testing Call Center Hours will also change. Starting Monday, Feb.1, the Testing Call Center will be operational from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Friday.
For more information on COVID-19 testing or vaccine, go to covid19.gachd.org.
Mary Landers is the environment and health reporter at the Savannah Morning News. Contact her at 912-655-8295. Twitter: @MaryLandersSMN