COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Just days after many people celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday, local COVID-19 testing facilities are seeing a spike in the demand to be tested.
Medical professionals at Acute Care Emergence (ACE) in Columbus confirmed this increased demand. The good news is the positivity rate of those tests is only slightly increasing.
For Jamie Crowder, this is his third time being tested for the coronavirus at ACE.
“I am just trying to protect me and my family,” Crowder said. “I think it is a good idea to get tested to keep America safe.”
He is one of the many Columbus residents who stood in line and waited in the cold Tuesday.
According to Dr. Joe Kaplan, one of the healthcare center’s founders, he and his medical staff conducted almost 20,000 COVID-19 tests for the month of November.
“Our numbers of actual positives are still running about the same, about five percent,” Kaplan said.
Nicole Hermosillio is a medical assistant at ACE. She said the most popular test people request is the rapid test, but the accuracy rate has its drawbacks.
“You know with COVID, we have that incubation period. So, it is not always 100 percent because if you are testing too early, let’s say the day before Thanksgiving, the machine won’t pick it up,” Hermosillio said.
ACE was one of the first facilities in the Chattahoochee Valley to offer rapid testing when the pandemic first hit. Fast forward eight months later, Kaplan said they are standing by for the COVID-19 vaccine.
“We put our name on the list and we were one of the first people to put our name on the list because we stay on the cutting edge of medicine here,” Kaplan said. “We are hoping to get it in soon and hope to give it to our patients soon.”
One of the reasons Kaplan and his staff think the demand for testing has increased is because many employers are requiring employees to test negative before coming to work. In addition, for people flying outside of the states, many countries require a PCR test prior to entry.
Dr. David Blake from Augusta Medical College specializes in data trends related to COVID-19.
He said Georgia as a whole compared to the country is doing okay, but anticipates as colder weather moves in there could be a spike again.
“So, when it gets cold out, the humidity in our indoor spaces gets lower and that impairs our lungs’ ability to clear the virus,” Blake said. “We have been lagging behind, but we have been catching up a little bit. Our hospitalization rates are at 72 percent of our summer peak.”