Georgia Power Foundation, Inc., will donate $100,000 to help Augusta University continue ramping up statewide screening and testing efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp recently asked Augusta University Health to partner with the Georgia National Guard to coordinate centralized scheduling for multiple COVID-19 specimen point of collection sites around the state.
“It is our duty and privilege to help protect Georgia’s citizens by increasing testing capacity throughout the state, and this would not be possible without community partners like the Georgia Power Foundation, Inc.,” said Augusta University President Brooks A. Keel, PhD. “The costs of such a large-scale effort add up quickly and support from organizations around the state will be vital to our continued success.”
Georgia Power and the Georgia Power Foundation, Inc., agreed that Augusta University’s work to increase testing stands to benefit the entire state.
“We know that our neighbors have faced unique circumstances since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. At Georgia Power, we are committed to standing with partners such as Augusta University Health as they work to provide valuable support to our communities during this challenging time,” said Paul Bowers, chairman, president and CEO of Georgia Power. “This investment will help ensure that necessary testing is widely available to all Georgians.”
Since March, when Augusta University began its COVID-19 response efforts, over 13,000 hotline calls have been answered, more than 14,000 telemedicine screenings have been completed through the AU Health ExpressCare app and nearly 7,000 specimen collections have been made at drive-thru locations around the state.
A major challenge with expanding testing in Georgia has been a shortage of reagents, or testing supplies. The Dental College of Georgia at Augusta University is providing 3D printed nasal swabs to support the expansion.
“The key to opening up our state is by testing as many people as possible to help better identify and isolate positive individuals to keep them from spreading the virus to others,” said AU Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Phillip Coule. “With additional lab capacity and more regents available through 3D printing and other avenues, we’re now able to test more people, starting with areas hardest hit by the virus.”