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Georgians urged not to go to hospital for COVID testing amid surge

Free vaccines are available at the Seminole County Health Department and Walgreens Pharmacy in Donalsonville 

 

Georgia’s Department of Public Health is urging Georgians not to go to hospitals for COVID testing amid a surge in cases across the state.

“To help keep hospital emergency departments open to treat medical emergencies, individuals seeking COVID testing should not go to hospital emergency departments, unless they are experiencing severe COVID-19 symptoms requiring urgent medical attention,” the DPH said in a release Wednesday afternoon. 

As of Wednesday, January 5, thirty-two new cases of COVID-19 involving Seminole County residents have been reported in the last two weeks, according to data from DPH 

There are 3,760 Seminole County residents who are considered fully vaccinated as of Wednesday, according to the DPH’s online Vaccine Distribution Dashboard. That’s 45 percent of the county’s population. 

The information indicates that 49 percent of the county’s population, or 4,100 residents, have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Since the pandemic began in March 2020, there have been 1,258 cases here based on P.C.R. and antigen positive testing, and 23 county residents have died from the disease caused by the novel Coronavirus, the state public health information shows.

Georgia Public Health’s vaccine finder website, vaccines.gov, reports that the free vaccines are available at the Seminole County Health Department and Walgreens Pharmacy in Donalsonville. 

All Georgians over the age of five are now eligible for COVID vaccination. Booster doses of vaccine are recommended for adults 18 and older who have completed their first series of vaccine.

The DPH said asymptomatic individuals or those with mild symptoms should find testing sites other than hospitals, a sentiment Governor Brian Kemp echoed in a press conference held on Wednesday.

COVID testing sites are available throughout Georgia. The DPH said it’s working with its partners to expand COVID testing hours and add more sites across Georgia.

Additionally, the DPH said to help with delays, it’s critical for people to register before going to a COVID testing site. You can find online registration for sites at dph.georgia.gov/covidtesting. 

COVID vaccinations are available across Georgia. The DPH said it’s “our best tool for ending this pandemic and reducing the overwhelming strain on the healthcare and healthcare providers.”

Georgians ages five and up are eligible to get a COVID shot. Georgians 16 and older are eligible for COVID booster shots six months after their primary doses of the COVID vaccine are completed, with Moderna or Pfizer – only Pfizer is authorized for booster doses for 16 and 17-year-olds. If you’ve received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, you can get the booster shot after two months. 

The DPH said it’s important to still wear a mask, social distance and wash your hands frequently with soap and water.

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