Year in Review:
Augusta University's fight against COVID-19

It’s been a year since the first six people were tested for the novel coronavirus at Augusta University, and two were determined to be presumptive positive — considered positive pending verification by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since then, Augusta University and AU Health have led the fight across the state of Georgia against the virus and the disease it causes, COVID-19.

The Augusta University community has come together like never before to respond to this threat to public health. Scientists, medical personnel, faculty, staff and students have developed in-house testing; made hand sanitizer and 3D-printed testing swabs and face masks during shortages; protected the mental health of frontline workers; and developed systems for mass testing across the state and mass vaccination across the Augusta community. We’ve also supported each other and cried together as we lost some of our own to COVID-19.

Augusta University has collaborated with the Augusta National, the state of Georgia, the National Guard and numerous state and private entities to support these efforts. Below is a timeline of AU’s fight against COVID-19.

2020

Two presumptive positive COVID-19 cases at Augusta University Health System

Two presumptive positive COVID-19 cases at Augusta University Health System
An employee and the spouse of an employee are presumptively positive for COVID-19 according to initial testing performed at Augusta University Health System. The results await confirmation from the Ce
March 16, 2020

AU Health Express Care app deployed for COVID-19 virtual screenings

AU Health Express Care app deployed for COVID-19 virtual screenings
Patients concerned about coronavirus (COVID-19) can now be screened for the virus without ever having to leave home, thanks to a new telehealth platform from Augusta University Health System.
March 17, 2020

Augusta University Health opens COVID-19 drive-thru testing clinic

Augusta University Health opens COVID-19 drive-thru testing clinic
AU Health is fortunate to have some of the world’s experts in this type of testing.
March 18, 2020

Novel coronavirus test provides fast, accurate results

Novel coronavirus test provides fast, accurate results
“We want patients and physicians in our community to have timely access to information that will ultimately benefit us all by helping limit spread of the virus,” says Dr. Ravindra Kolhe, director
March 19, 2020

Special screening efforts for COVID-19 aim to keep ER staff, patients safe

Special screening efforts for COVID-19 aim to keep ER staff, patients safe
As patients arrive at the emergency room, they are greeted at the door by a health professional on a video screen who asks about the symptoms they’re experiencing.
March 20, 2020

Augusta University Health opens additional testing site in Columbia County

Augusta University Health opens additional testing site in Columbia County
The center will make drive-thru testing more convenient for area residents who screen positive through Augusta University Health's virtual screening app.
March 25, 2020

Augusta National Golf Club, Community Foundation to give Augusta University $1 million to expand coronavirus testing

Augusta National Golf Club, Community Foundation to give Augusta University $1 million to expand coronavirus testing
Efforts by Augusta University to increase local COVID-19 testing capacity received a $1 million boost today, thanks to a joint gift from Augusta National Golf Club and the Community Foundation of the
March 30, 2020

Medical College of Georgia students step up to help during pandemic

Medical College of Georgia students step up to help during pandemic
“These efforts (and others) remind us that we gather a medical school faculty together every year to teach our students to become the best doctors that they can be — for their patients and for soc
March 31, 2020

Innovation

MCG’s GEM Lab offering coronavirus testing statewide

MCG’s GEM Lab offering coronavirus testing statewide
The Georgia Esoteric and Molecular Laboratory at the Medical College of Georgia Department of Pathology is now offering a new coronavirus test with expanded capacity to the entire state.
April 7, 2020

Augusta University faculty develops 3D-printed face shields to protect clinical staff

Augusta University faculty develops 3D-printed face shields to protect clinical staff
Using 3D printers, several faculty members at Augusta University have volunteered to make face shields to protect clinicians’ eyes and faces from the coronavirus.
April 7, 2020

Pharmacy staff make hand sanitizer to supply Augusta University

Pharmacy staff make hand sanitizer to supply Augusta University
As suppliers run out of hand sanitizer across the country and Augusta University’s shipments of Purell became increasingly delayed, pharmacy resident Kelli Keats developed a plan to make sure AU sta
April 9, 2020

Kemp announces statewide expansion of AU Health COVID-19 screening application

Kemp announces statewide expansion of AU Health COVID-19 screening application
In a press conference today, Gov. Brian Kemp recognized Augusta University Health for their efforts to expand COVID-19 screening through the AU Health ExpressCare app and said the technology will be m
April 13, 2020

AU Health to lead statewide expansion of coronavirus testing

AU Health to lead statewide expansion of coronavirus testing
Augusta University will lead the expansion of coronavirus testing in Georgia, coordinating specimen collection at nearly 40 sites statewide.
April 21, 2020

Dental College of Georgia 3D prints nasal swabs for statewide COVID-19 testing

Dental College of Georgia 3D prints nasal swabs for statewide COVID-19 testing
Many medical experts say COVID-19 testing is the key to everyone soon returning to their normal lives. When residents and faculty from The Dental College of Georgia at Augusta University learned of th
April 24, 2020

Augusta University and local companies team up to develop 500 reusable medical masks

Augusta University and local companies team up to develop 500 reusable medical masks
A task force from Augusta University has teamed up with local companies to produce 3D-printed molds and create at least 500 reusable face masks to help protect the clinical staff at AU Health from COV
May 5, 2020

Augusta University Health partners with Columbia County for COVID-19 antibody testing, research

Augusta University Health partners with Columbia County for COVID-19 antibody testing, research
“We all want to answer a question: Was the unusual respiratory illness that we experienced this fall and winter actually COVID-19?” said Dr. Phillip Coule, vice president and chief medical officer
May 11, 2020

Federal Communications Commission awards grant to help expand Augusta University Health’s telehealth initiatives

Federal Communications Commission awards grant to help expand Augusta University Health’s telehealth initiatives
A grant from the Federal Communications Commission will help AU Health's response to COVID-19.
July 15, 2020

AU Health COVID-19 drive-thru specimen collection location to relocate to downtown Augusta

AU Health COVID-19 drive-thru specimen collection location to relocate to downtown Augusta
One of Augusta University Health’s two COVID-19 drive-thru specimen collection locations will relocate to downtown Augusta in an attempt to provide better access to testing for area residents and i
July 16, 2020

Georgia Cancer Center partners with churches to promote COVID-19 education and awareness

Georgia Cancer Center partners with churches to promote COVID-19 education and awareness
The Georgia Cancer Center is working with African American church leaders across Georgia to help minorities and underserved individuals understand the impact COVID-19 can have on them and their loved
July 27, 2020

Pooling strategy: A solution for mass population screening of SARS-CoV-2

Pooling strategy: A solution for mass population screening of SARS-CoV-2
A rapid, cheap, and reliable pooling strategy for screening of SARS-CoV-2 maximizes available testing kits and resources in the COVID-19 pandemic.
July 30, 2020

Augusta University Health expands COVID-19 testing for pediatric patients

Augusta University Health expands COVID-19 testing for pediatric patients
Augusta University Health now has a dedicated site for kids to be tested for COVID-19.
August 14, 2020

Lost on the front lines: AU Health nurse who died of COVID-19 memorialized on national stage

Lost on the front lines: AU Health nurse who died of COVID-19 memorialized on national stage
Yolanda Coar has been remembered both on the national stage and at home in Augusta this week.
August 20, 2020

Video: Watch Yolanda Coar’s story as told by The Guardian

Community donations for #OurAUHeroes

How you can help

The COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund is designated to support Augusta University and AU Health’s response and associated expenses pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic. Donate and learn more here.

U.S. Army uses Dental College of Georgia’s 3D nasal swabs for COVID-19 testing

U.S. Army uses Dental College of Georgia’s 3D nasal swabs for COVID-19 testing
When The Dental College of Georgia first started 3D printing nasal swabs to use in COVID-19 testing, it was making enough for the Augusta area. Now, that same design is helping Army personnel across t
November 9, 2020

The Atlanta Gas Light Foundation aids AU Health in pandemic response with $50K donation

The Atlanta Gas Light Foundation aids AU Health in pandemic response with $50K donation
Augusta University Health’s ongoing COVID-19 response efforts received a boost from Atlanta Gas Light and the Atlanta Gas Light Foundation with a $50,000 gift to the Emergency Response Fund.
November 19, 2020

Augusta University Health prepares plan to distribute COVID-19 vaccine

Augusta University Health prepares plan to distribute COVID-19 vaccine
Augusta University Health will host a virtual town hall for health care providers at noon Wednesday, Dec. 9, to cover the latest information on the COVID-19 vaccination and plans for vaccine distribut
December 8, 2020

Augusta University Health administers first COVID-19 vaccine to frontline caregivers

Augusta University Health administers first COVID-19 vaccine to frontline caregivers
Caregivers at Augusta University Health started receiving the COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 17.
December 17, 2020

National Headlines

Media Statistics

On topics related to COVID-19, Augusta University’s communications team sent out 111 news releases, which led to 21,127 mentions in local, regional and national news outlets. 

More than 30 of these outlets are top-tier news outlets, including the New York Times, NPR, PBS, MSN, Newsweek, CBS News, CNN and Forbes. This means Augusta University’s name reached 11.5 billion readers or viewers in 2020. 

2021

Governor touts Augusta University’s leadership to fight COVID-19 during State of the State

Governor touts Augusta University’s leadership to fight COVID-19 during State of the State
Gov. Brian Kemp recognized Augusta University's leadership in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic during his annual State of the State address on Jan. 14.
January 14, 2021

Augusta University Health tackles vaccine hesitancy in the Black community

Augusta University Health tackles vaccine hesitancy in the Black community
Epidemiologist Dr. Justin X. Moore shares insight into why Black America is leery of getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
January 20, 2021

Coronavirus image produced by alumna wins international award

Coronavirus image produced by alumna wins international award
The coronavirus image created by alumna Alissa Eckert earns a big win on the international design stage.
January 25, 2021

In Photos: Augusta University health vaccinates local church leaders

In Photos: Augusta University health vaccinates local church leaders
A number of local church leaders received their first vaccination shot Monday at Good Shepherd Baptist Church in Augusta.
January 27, 2021

Augusta University Health receives $2 million to expand COVID-19 vaccine effort

Augusta University Health receives $2 million to expand COVID-19 vaccine effort
Augusta National and the Community Foundation for the Central Savannah River Area will provide matching $1 million contributions, resulting in a joint donation of $2 million to further support AU Heal
February 3, 2021

Medical students to help deliver COVID-19 vaccines in Clarke County

Medical students to help deliver COVID-19 vaccines in Clarke County
The medical students will be working at Department of Public Health COVID-19 testing sites administering the vaccines and monitoring patients for vaccine reactions.
February 4, 2021

Augusta University Health opens COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Aiken County

Augusta University Health opens COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Aiken County
Augusta University Health partners with Aiken Technical College to open a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Aiken County.
February 5, 2021

In Photos: New COVID-19 vaccine clinic opens at Washington Square

In Photos: New COVID-19 vaccine clinic opens at Washington Square
Augusta University Health opened a new vaccine clinic Wednesday, Feb. 10, at Washington Square shopping center on Washington Road. 
February 11, 2021

College of Nursing students administer COVID vaccine through public health nursing course

College of Nursing students administer COVID vaccine through public health nursing course
Dr. Carol Hunter said many students are not aware of the importance of public health, but these kinds of opportunities bring public health nursing to the forefront.
February 18, 2021

Lt. Gov. Duncan calls Augusta University Health vaccine sites a model for Georgia

Lt. Gov. Duncan calls Augusta University Health vaccine sites a model for Georgia
Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan said Augusta University Health's community clinics to bring COVID-19 vaccinations to underserved areas could serve as a "model for other areas around the state" during a visit Fe
February 26, 2021

Looking Back

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Heather Henley Written by Heather Henley

Jagwire is your source for news and stories from Augusta University and AU Health. 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.

Read on for stories of innovation in education and health care, opportunities at the center of Georgia’s new cybersecurity hub, and experiential learning that blends arts and application, humanities and the health sciences.