Augusta University Health extends COVID-19 testing to rural hospitals

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As the COVID-19 outbreak sweeps across the United States, rural areas are at risk of getting hit hard by the pandemic.

Augusta University Health has expanded its capacity for COVID-19 testing and is now acting as a reference lab to provide medical centers in rural Georgia and South Carolina with accurate, more timely results.

“We know that having more timely COVID-19 test results, allows for hospitals to take better care of all of our patients while protecting our staff and preserving personal protective equipment (PPE),”  said AU Health CEO Katrina Keefer. “We are blessed to have the testing capacity here so that we may support limiting the spread of the virus in local communities by more quickly identifying and isolating infected patients and health care workers.”

The specimens are delivered to the AU Health lab, and results are turned around within two days, often sooner.

Jefferson Hospital and Emanuel Medical Center are among the first rural medical centers to utilize AU Health’s COVID-19 testing services. Jefferson Hospital sent in their first samples on March 29, and AU Health was able to test and confirm three positive COVID-19 cases on the same day. Jefferson Hospital CEO Wendy Martin said the service AU Health provides is beneficial to their facility because they often have to wait nearly two weeks to get results when using a third-party company. 

“Hospitals are facing challenging times during this outbreak, and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work with AU Health in getting quick test results for our patients” said Martin. “Rural Hospitals often struggle with limited staffing and resources. These quick test results will allow us to ensure the utmost safety of our staff, patients, and community.”

Medical centers and businesses interested in learning more about this service should contact Jennifer Miller, vice president of Strategy and Business Development for AU Health.

Visit our resource page for additional updates and information on COVID-19.

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Written by
Danielle Harris

Danielle Harris is Senior Media Relations Coordinator at Augusta University. Contact her to schedule an interview on this topic or with one of our experts at 706-721-7511 or

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Written by Danielle Harris

Jagwire is your source for news and stories from Augusta University. Daily updates highlight the many ways students, faculty, staff, researchers and clinicians "bring their A games" in classrooms and clinics on four campuses in Augusta and locations across the state of Georgia.

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