At the testing site, patients drive up to the tent, then call a number to notify medical staff that they are waiting outside, Stephanie Brown, Longstreet’s lab services manager, said. The test could be either a nasal swab or a throat swab, depending on what kit is available, she said.
Patients are given guidelines about how to quarantine while they wait for results or if they test positive for the virus.
“They’re anxious about what is going on with this virus,” Brown said. “(Testing) doesn’t take long. It takes longer to go through the explanation of how we’re going to do the collection process.”
Funk said Longstreet is testing about 15 to 20 patients a day. The testing materials needed for COVID-19 are similar to what is needed to test for other viruses, and Longstreet already had a supply before the pandemic.
“I wouldn’t say that we have an abundant supply, but we have an adequate supply right now for the testing,” Funk said. “But it has been difficult to get any more (supplies).”
The Northeast Georgia Diagnostic Clinic, which has locations in Gainesville and Braselton, is offering testing for its own patients but not outside referrals, according to Katherine Watson, a spokeswoman for Northside Hospital, which operates the clinic. Tests are sent to a commercial lab.
Guilford Immediate Care is offering COVID-19 testing for patients who meet criteria after consulting with a physician. Guilford has two locations in Gainesville, on Jesse Jewell Parkway and Dawsonville Highway, as well as locations in Oakwood and Cleveland. Practice manager Amy Robertson said samples are being sent to NGMC, and Guilford is seeing about a two-day turnaround time for results.
Testing is not done at the Hall County Health Department facility, but nurses are screening callers by phone, according to Georgia Department of Public Health spokesman Dave Palmer. If the nurse decides the patient needs testing, the patient is given a phone number to schedule a time to go to a drive-thru testing site. Residents can also call the state’s COVID-19 hotline at 1-844-442-2681. The drive-thru testing site is referral-only.