COVID-19 cases are currently declining, but health experts continue to urge anyone showing symptoms to get tested as soon as possible in order to prevent spread.
How are the tests different?
Georgia Department of Public Health explains online that there are two types of test: viral, which tests for current infections, and antibody, which tests for past infection.
There are two types of viral test: polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and antigen. The PCR detects the virus' genetic material while the antigen looks for the virus' viral protein. PCR tests are considered the most accurate, but can take more than a day to turn over results. Antigen is less reliable, but is considered "rapid result."
Several at-home antigen tests can be self-administered and are over-the-counter. However, the recent surge has greatly diminished stores' inventories.
Here are some of the places COVID-19 tests are available in the area, as of Wednesday, March 23:
Augusta-area testing sites
Augusta University has a drive-thru clinic at Annex II where the AU Police Department is located on 15th Street in Augusta's medical district. Georgia Department of Public Health runs testing at the clinic Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Appointments can be scheduled online at ecphd.com/covidtesting. Results will be delivered 24 to 48 hours after the test via text message and email.
Piedmont Augusta, former known as University Hospital, is conducting tests for symptomatic individuals at its emergency department and prompt care locations. However, three prompt care locations have been closed to consolidate staff at the other locations. Those closed locations are in Martinez on West Lake Commons Road, in Grovetown on Branch Court, and in North Augusta on Georgia Avenue. All prompt care locations will register their last patients each weekday at 5 p.m.
Though they are offering testing, area hospitals have reported serious strains due, in part, to an influx of people wanting to be tested. Hospital officials like AU Chief Medical Officer Phillip Coule urged residents to not bother with an ER visit unless it is an extreme case of the disease.
Walmart is offering testing via curbside or drive-through at its Neighborhood Grocery locations on Windsor Spring Road in Hephzibah, on South Belair Road in Martinez and on Wrightsboro Road in Grovetown. Results will be generated in one to two days. The tests are being administered by the lab company Quest Diagnostics and can be scheduled at QuestCovid19.com.
Walgreens has plenty of available appointments for PCR tests at locations across the Augusta-area, as of Wednesday. The pharmacies in Beech Island, Grovetown, Hephzibah and Augusta on Wheeler Road and Washington Road are also offering rapid tests. The company has also started offering Pixel by Labcorp at-home tests. To check availability and what kind of test is offered at each location, go to walgreens.com/findcare/category/covid-19.
CVS Pharmacy is offering testing, as of March 23, at its locations in Martinez, Grovetown, Beech Island, Evans, North Augusta and Augusta on Windsor Spring Road, Walton Way, Washington Road and Wrightsboro Road. To check availability, go to cvs.com/minuteclinic/covid-19-testing.
MedNow Urgent Care offers rapid and PCR testing all week at its Augusta-area locations. CEO Mark Newton said via email that no appointment is needed and those interested should check mednowurgentcare.net for specific locations and hours.
Perfect Health offers testing at all three of its locations: on Peach Orchard Road in Augusta, which is open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Washington Road in Evans, which is open daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and West Robinson Avenue in Grovetown, which is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome. For more information, go to perfecthealth247.com/services/covid-testing.
Physicians United Urgent Care on Robert C. Daniel Jr. Parkway in Augusta has antigen, PCR and antibody testing, according to physician and owner Fanta Kasiah via Messenger. They test all week, Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Patients must arrive more than 15 minutes before close. For more information, call (706) 925-2273.
Andor Labs has opened a testing clinic at 3351 Wrightsboro Road in Augusta in the Broyhill Park plaza that's open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It's a drive-up offering rapid as well as PCR tests. Spokesperson Ashley Lewis said via email that results are generated in 24 to 48 hours.
North Shore Medical Labs has a drive-thru testing site in Augusta on 3069 Washington Road near Mercedes-Benz of Augusta. It's open all week from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Those interested should bring a request from the doctor or connect with a provider at nsml.net/gavan5.
Doctors Care is offering testing for symptomatic individuals at all of its facilities across South Carolina, including its location in North Augusta on Knox Avenue. The urgent care center is open on Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Saturday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Appointments can be booked online at doctorscare.com/northaugusta.
Daniels Pharmacy has antigen tests available at its Barnwell and Blackville locations with appointments on Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4:40 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 to 11 a.m. For more information, go to danielspharmacydme.com/covid-testing.
North Augusta Pediatrics has rapid tests available. They are testing both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals. The office is located on West Martintown Road. For more information, call (803) 510-0007, go to northaugustapediatrics.com, or follow the office's Facebook page.
Living Well Pharmacy on Mike Padgett Highway in Augusta has PCR and rapid tests. Walk-ins are available for both Monday through Friday. PCR is given 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. while rapids are given 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. PCR tests take 24 to 36 hours to generate results, while rapid tests take 15 minutes. For more information, call (706) 262-4455 or go to livingwellpharmacy.com.
The White House's at-home testing website
Residents can now order free rapid antigen tests from the U.S. government. Every home is eligible for four at-home tests that will be shipped via the U.S. Postal Service within 7 to 12 business days.
According to USA TODAY, some apartment residents reported during the site's beta test that, if they lived in the same building, the site would read a duplicate order; therefore, it's important to mark down the specific apartment number in the address.
What to bring to a test
Here are some things to bring to a coronavirus test, according to information from providers like Augusta University:
Copy of appointment confirmation or email
Underage patients may be asked to have a parent/guardian with them to consent. Some vaccination sites, like AU and CVS, ask for proof of insurance, though the test is free under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, even for the uninsured.
This article originally appeared on Augusta Chronicle: Where can you get a COVID-19 test in the Augusta area?