Due to the recent surge of COVID-19 cases, Southwell is re-opening its drive-thru COVID-19 testing site at the Tift Regional Community Events Center starting on Aug. 6 and is increasing its number of vaccination locations. 

“Southwell is taking these steps because of the recent increase of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations due to the spread of the highly-transmissible Delta variant,” said Claire Byrnes, Senior Vice President, Ambulatory Operations, for Southwell.

The COVID-19 testing site at the Tift Regional Community Events Center, which is located in Tifton at 1657 S. Carpenter Road, will be open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  No appointments are necessary. Upon arriving at the testing site, patients are urged to follow the directional signs upon arrival.  Patients will remain in their vehicles for a standard COVID-19 nasal swab test.

COVID-19 testing is also available at ExpressCare in Tifton, Affinity Pediatrics in Tifton, Affinity Pediatrics in Moultrie, Ocilla Pediatrics in Ocilla, and Southwell’s primary care clinics in Adel, Ashburn, Nashville, and Sylvester.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, chills, dry cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, a loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. Symptoms can start from two-to-14 days after contact with the virus.

“We need the community’s help in reducing traffic to our emergency department at Tift Regional Medical Center so our emergency medicine team can focus on true emergencies.  If you only need a COVID-19 test, we encourage you to visit our drive-thru testing site,” said Byrnes.  “If you are showing mild symptoms of COVID-19, please see your primary care provider or utilize one of our two convenient care clinics: ExpressCare in Tifton or Southwell Medical Adel Primary Care in Adel.  Community members are urged to go the ER or call 911 right away with any extreme symptoms such as trouble breathing, constant pain or pressure in the chest, bluish lips or face, or sudden confusion.”

In addition to the reopening of the testing site, COVID-19 vaccination sites will also expand to Southwell’s two school-based clinics in Tifton: Eighth Street Middle School and Annie Belle Clark Elementary School.  Students age 12 and older are eligible for the vaccination with parent or guardian permission.  Faculty and staff of Tift County Schools can also receive vaccinations at the school clinics.

This is in addition to the vaccination sites located at Southwell’s WorkSmart clinic in Tifton and Affinity Pediatrics in Tifton.

“In Georgia, COVID cases are growing at an alarming rate,” said Byrnes. “Almost all of Tift Regional Medical Center’s recent COVID-19 inpatients did not receive the vaccination. We strongly encourage all local residents to get vaccinated as soon as possible.  People who are unvaccinated or do not receive their second dose of vaccine are prime targets for infection.”