AU Health System’s virtual screening web site has gone statewide in Georgia and is helping patients in South Carolina who are concerned they have COVID-19.
Days after starting a virtual screening web site and app for patients who want to get screened for COVID-19, AU Health System has expanded all across Georgia and reached into South Carolina.
As of this morning, AU Health is up to 16 positive patients with the infection, and two have been positive at Doctors Hospital and Edgefield and Aiken Counties have reported one each, raising the Augusta area’s total to 20 patients.
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“We’ve been covering a good portion of Georgia and South Carolina, mostly by word of mouth and social media,” said Matt Lyon, medical director of telehealth for AU Health. That became a more formal arrangement over the weekend when Georgia Department of Public Health reached out to have AU Health’s system begin screening patients in every health district, he said.
Georgia public health has instituted drive-through screening in every health district now but was relying on the network of primary care doctors to screen patients to refer them to testing, Lyon said,
But “it’s pretty hard to get to see your doctor right now,” he said. Instead, those worried about whether they should get tested can use the app or web site to get screened by one of AU Health’ providers.The number of doctors and advanced practice personnel screening is at least 350 and more are being trained and added, Lyon said. While AU Health had been referring patients to its own testing, “now if you are in Savannah we can refer you to testing in Savannah,” he said. In the last 24 hours as of 7 a.m. Monday, the health system’s hotline had received 288 calls, 301 patients had gotten screened through telemedicine and 114 got tested.
The criteria for who is getting referred for testing is changing constantly but right now patients must at least have a fever and other symptoms, such as shortness of breath, Lyon said. Priority is being given to those at highest risk, such as those with underlying health problems like lung disease, diabetes and cancer, Lyon said.
As of 7 p.m. last night, Georgia had 620 positive tests and 25 deaths. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Public Health Commissioner Kathleen Toomey will give an update today at 5 p.m.
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