Today, Gov. Brian P. Kemp announced a laboratory surge plan to quickly increase the availability of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing for COVID-19 in Georgia.
The initiative leverages the collective resources under the University System of Georgia, Georgia Public Health Laboratory, and Emory University. The ramp-up of laboratory testing begins today. Labs will process over 3,000 samples per day.
“Adequate testing for COVID-19 has continued to be a top priority for the Coronavirus Task Force as we fight this pandemic,” said Kemp. “With this innovative partnership between state government agencies, our world-class research institutions, and private-sector partners, we will be able to dramatically increase testing capacity.”
“We hope this surge capacity plan will allow federal and state public health officials to gain a more complete picture of COVID-19’s impact on Georgia and better inform our collective decisions going forward. We expect this plan will lead to greater testing capacity and more insight into the number of positive cases in our state. I would like to thank University System of Georgia Chancellor Steve Wrigley, Dr. Kathleen Toomey, and their respective staff for their hard work on this important partnership,” said Kemp.
“Working collectively with our partners in the University System of Georgia will greatly expand our testing capacity. That means identifying more cases, getting more people into care, and protecting our communities from the spread of COVID-19,” said Department of Public Health Commissioner Kathleen E. Toomey, MD, MPH. “This collaboration will not only provide much-needed capacity now, but it will ensure a robust state infrastructure for the future.”
“The increase in testing capacity is critical to Georgia’s effort to battle COVID-19 in our communities, and our institutions are working hard to make it happen,” University System of Georgia Chancellor Steve Wrigley said. “The experts at Augusta University, Georgia State, Georgia Tech, and the University of Georgia understand that urgency and have the capacity and expertise to make this work for Georgia. We appreciate their hard work, and we thank our laboratory partners at Emory University and the Georgia Public Health Laboratory.”
Partners in this effort include: Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), Georgia Public Health Laboratory (GPHL), Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA), Georgia National Guard (GNG), Augusta University of the Health Sciences (AU), Georgia State University (GSU), Georgia Institute of Technology (GT), Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), University of Georgia (UGA), and Emory University (EU).
The partnership allows for Georgia’s universities to transfer the equipment needed for COVID-19 testing from their research labs to accredited clinical labs – GSU, AU, EU, and GPHL – to perform the tests. The Governor’s Office has expedited the purchase of necessary equipment and reagents to begin ramping up testing over the next five to seven days.