COVID-19 testing changes in Chatham Co.

Published: Mar. 14, 2022 at 11:46 AM EDT|Updated: Mar. 15, 2022 at 5:30 PM EDT
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CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - COVID testing will not be available at the Savannah Civic Center starting Wednesday, March 16, but health department leaders say the testing site might not be gone for good.

Site lead Joshua Hamilton at the Savannah Civic Center says they aren’t surprised the Chatham County Health Department announced the testing site is closing as they’ve gotten less than 30 patients a day over the past two weeks.

“Seeing with the numbers dropping as they are I expected this place to be closed down,” Hamilton said.

Health Department Administrator Dr. Chris Rustin says the site is closing because the city of Savannah has events scheduled at the location. They will only offer tests at the health department’s West Chatham location in Pooler

“We plan to move back to the Civic Center in the event that the demand warrants that, but we do recommend that the public look at other options also, federally qualified health centers that offer testing,” Dr. Rustin said.

But screener Alisha Edwards says it’s been about accessibility.

“It’s kind of sad because we’ve been here since January of last year. We had a lot of people. It’s easier for the locals to come by when we’re downtown,” Edwards said.

Some residents said they felt safer knowing they could come to the Savannah Civic Center to get their free COVID-19 test.

“It’s kind of stressful thinking about it because I know the city’s going to get packed for St. Patrick’s Day and everybody’s going to be coming back from spring break and you don’t know who you’ve been around or who people have been around, and I just think I always feel safer knowing I have that negative test result,” Chloe Collins said.

Because they live downtown and attend SCAD, Chloe and Mariah Collins says it was nice having a site available nearby at least five days a week.

“It’s a good thing that they’re starting to have lower cases but it’s nice to think we have some place just in case we get tested again,” Mariah Collins said.

The health department say they hope to open a self-testing kiosk at their location on Eisenhower Drive around April 1.

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