The Dade County Health Department announced that free drive-up COVID-19 testing is still available in Dade by appointment for symptomatic people after testing was temporarily suspended in Dade.
According to a press release from Georgia Department of Public Health Northwest Health District, those who set up an appointment can drive up to 71 Case Ave., Suite H-100 in Trenton on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday or Friday between 11 a.m. to noon and 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. to take a rapid test. Swab testing is still available on Wednesday during the same hours for those who have not made an appointment and or are not showing symptoms.
Northwest Health District Public Information Officer Logan Boss said that the decision to provide the rapid test for symptomatic people in Dade and other counties by-appointment-only was made by his organization.
“My understanding is that each of Georgia’s 18 health districts determines how to use the rapid test we were given,” Boss said. “It was left up to the individual health districts to do it. Some are not even offering it to the public.”
Boss said the rapid test is more accurate than the standard swab test for people with symptoms and has a quick turn around with results coming back sometimes as quickly as 15 minutes later. With the swab test, also called the PCR test, results can sometimes come back in 24 hours. However, it is most common for results to return in two to three days. Depending on the demand, results can take a full week to return.
“The key thing with the rapid test [over the PCR test] is that it is the most accurate with patients who have symptoms,” Boss said. “False positives and false negatives are reduced with patients who are symptomatic.”
According to the health department, if a person’s rapid test returns negative and they are still showing symptoms, a PCR test should be taken as well.
For those who are not symptomatic and take the PCR test, false negatives can occur up to 50 percent of the time. False positives are far less likely to occur.
To schedule an appointment, call the Dade County Health Department at (706) 657-4213.
Testing is also available outside of Dade County. The Catoosa County Health Department and Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Lafayette are now conducting testing three days per week.
Testing in Catoosa is available Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 9 a.m. to noon and 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Testing at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in LaFayette is available Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to noon and 12:30 to 4:30 p.m.