‘It’s only the first week’: Parent concerned as local health facilities experience COVID test surge

Published: Aug. 13, 2021 at 6:04 PM EDT
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RICHMOND HILL, Ga. (WTOC) - Several health facilities are experiencing a high demand for COVID-19 tests as cases continue to surge. A parent in Effingham County drove to Richmond Hill Friday, desperate to find a test for her child.

Melodie Pinckney has a 15-month-old and a 5-year-old at home in Effingham County. Friday morning, Pinckney said she was on hold for 30 minutes trying to schedule a COVID test for her kid after their teacher advised her class to stay home.

“It’s more stressful for the parents. The kids are looking at it, it’s fun, it’s something to do...but it’s a lot. It’s a lot everyday and I’m just praying that she’ll be fine,” she said.

The mother said her go-to office in Rincon had no availability, so she had to take off most of her day to get to Richmond Hill.

“Swamped...it’s bad. It’s only the first week. It’s only gonna get worse. It’s not even flu season right now,” Pinckney said.

SouthCoast Health said because of kids going back to school and a surge of COVID cases in Bryan County, they’re giving out 30-40 tests each day.

“Everyday we’re working through lunch and then we’re adding appointments onto the end of the day,” said SouthCoast Health Doctor Nelson Elam. “We have evening hours and then extra people are staying to help staff run the evening hours.”

Dr. Elam said they’ve been trying to cut back on well checks for children who aren’t sick or don’t need a vaccine.

“We may call those and say you might want to reschedule that or schedule that for later so they don’t come in and get exposed possibly to someone else who’s been sick and also to free up time slots for the ones who are sick.”

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