BUFORD  – A meeting took place on Wednesday afternoon between the Georgia Army National Guard and the City of Buford.  The Buford City Arena has been identified as a potential COVID-19 drive-through testing site by the Georgia National Guard. 

Governor Brian Kemp called into service units of the Georgia National Guard in his March 14 Executive Order to assist the state in handling the COVID-19 outbreak in the state. Units have been deployed to assist operations at assisted living facilities and nursing homes, work in hard-hit hospitals around the state, and to set up and operate drive-through coronavirus testing sites.  

As more tests have become available, the Georgia National Guard has been on the hunt for sites suitable to host the drive-through testing operations and they zeroed in on the parking lot at the Buford Arena. A representative with the Georgia National Guard toured the potential testing site at the Arena and details were worked out for the use of the City of Buford’s property.

“This [plan] is fluid right now. There’s not been a firm decision if we have been picked or not but based on the interview I had with the Lieutenant from the National Guard, they were interested in the Arena for a number of reasons.  The security aspect, as it is enclosed.  Second, the traffic aspect of getting them [those who are being tested] in and out [of the site],” Dan Branch, Public Safety Director for the City of Buford told the North Gwinnett Voice following the meeting with the Georgia National Guard on Wednesday.

If the Arena is selected as a COVID-19 testing site, the Georgia National Guard is expected to begin setting up the testing facilities on Friday morning, April 24.  The City of Buford has graciously volunteered to provide power and restroom facilities for the Guard to use, as well as, make city personnel available to help support their efforts.

Only people who call and schedule an appointment with their local health department may be tested at this site. The National Guard picks up the COVID-19 test kits daily from Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta. The number of people that can get an appointment for each day will be based upon the number of tests they pick up.

Those that believe they have been exposed to COVID-19 or they think they have the virus may call the East Metro Health District to schedule an appointment to be tested at 770-513-5631 Mon-Fri, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sat, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Appointments are available Monday-Saturday.  

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