SUWANEE, Ga. — The head of Gwinnett County’s health department said the agency, and others across the state, need more COVID-19 tests kits to keep up with public demand while Georgia experiences a surge in infections.
The lack of capacity means mothers like Jennifer, who didn’t want to provide her last name, has been waiting for days to get a test.
“I mean, I just don’t understand how we’re this unprepared,” said the 36-year-old Suwanee resident.
On Thursday, the Georgia Department of Public Health reported an additional 2,837 new cases. Gwinnett County leads the state with 10,415 total cases.
Jennifer wants to get tested because her husband and her 3-year-old son have both experienced COVID-19 symptoms, including a sore throat, body aches, and congestion.
“I mean, it really sounded like textbook COVID,” said Jennifer, a Gwinnett County law enforcement officer.
Her husband got a test through the county on Monday, but when she tried to get a test the next day, no appointments were available. Since then, she’s had no luck at Urgent Cares and CVS clinics, even when she tried nearby counties.
The clinics that offered same-day appointments had lines that stretched for hours.
“I mean, you would think that it’s Black Friday and people are standing for something good,” she said. "People were literally sleeping in their cars. They had been there for a long time. You can tell.”
While they wait, her husband is under quarantine in the basement.
Dr. Audrey Arona, the county’s district health director, said her office slowly saw the demand increase over the past two weeks.
“We tried to accommodate people in line who didn’t have appointments and it was a bad idea because the roads were inundated, people couldn’t get into businesses,” said Arona.
The health director said the county is tightly managing its testing operation, but acknowledges Gwinnett and several other counties need more tests.
“All of the district health directors in the state communicate frequently and we all are in need of tests kits. There are several labs that are used in our state and they all are exceeded capacity,” said Arona.
Arona said the good news is that the hospitalizations and deaths in Gwinnett have not dramatically spiked, which hopefully means most patients will fight through the virus.
“Those are good indicators because it tells me that they are testing a younger, healthier less prone to sever disease population.” she explained.
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