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

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

ATLANTA — 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. 

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 here

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. 

Click here for more information on COVID testing and vaccinations in Georgia.