Drive-thru COVID testing

Drive-thru testing began Monday at the office of Dr. Patrice Boddie on North Wayne Street.

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. — Dr. Patrice Boddie has offered medical care to area patients for more than 20 years, and now, during the novel coronavirus COVID-19 global pandemic, she and her staff are giving of themselves like never before.

The staff has even teamed up with local businesses, Howell Medical Supply and the Hampton Inn, to help in what has been dubbed Operation Help. Quentin T. Howell and his wife, Latonya, and Mack Patel are working side-by-side to help provide testing to those in need.

For the first time since the pandemic began several weeks ago, residents — preferably those with medical insurance — can get drive-thru testing for the COVID-19 respiratory virus.

Such testing began Monday morning and continued through the afternoon. The drive-thru testing will resume Wednesday at Boddie’s office at 240 N. Wayne St. in Milledgeville. Residents, meanwhile, in Sparta and Hancock County were afforded the same opportunity on Tuesday at Boddie’s office, across from the Hancock County health department office.

“Patients are going to be driving through to get tested for COVID-19 because we’re not going to be doing them inside the office,” Boddie told The Union-Recorder in a telephone interview. “They’re going to be driving up to the person who is going to be performing the test. And then we’re going to be giving those individuals some brief information about the coronavirus.”

Gift bags containing masks, gloves and soap also will be given to those that undergo such testing. Those items are compliments of Howell Medical Supplies and Hampton Inn.

Boddie said the tests are nasal forensic swabs.

Karen Hill, a medical assistant, and the person who thought of the idea to offer a community drive-thru COVID-19 test site at the doctor’s offices is administering the tests. 

“It doesn’t take very long to perform this sort of test,” Boddie said, noting that the tests are sent off by United Parcel Post (UPS) to a lab with the Georgia Department of Health (DPH). “Those are the ones we’re using now. It depends on how long their supplies last.”

The doctor said the tests are sent off daily and hat it is expected to take between three to five days to get the results.

Boddie said Hill had been trained to do the COVID-19 testing.

“She is being extremely mindful of the disease and how vehement the virus is,” Boddie pointed out. 

Boddie said primarily persons tested at the drive-thru test sites at her offices are persons who have medical insurance.

“We’re using their insurance to help offset some of the costs associated with the tests,” Boddie said.

There were a couple of patients who came to the Boddie’s office last week who didn’t have insurance.

“I’d prefer they had insurance, but we saw a couple last week that didn’t have insurance and I felt they needed to be tested,” Boddie said. “So, we’re not going to say no. As it is with any physician, you’ve got a sick person walking in your door, you’re not going to not see them. It’s the same principle, but we’d rather have patients who have some form of payment.”

Monday’s testing began at 9 a.m. and concluded at 5 p.m. at her Milledgeville office, and on Tuesday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at her office in Sparta, and then on Wednesday at her Milledgeville office again from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

The local physician said she wouldn’t be able to offer the drive-thru COVID-19 testing were it not for her devoted staff.

“I am so happy that they have hung right in there with me through this entire pandemic,” Boddie said. “They’ve been troopers. They’ve stepped up to help our communities and I really appreciate each of them for doing what they have done thus far and what they will be doing to help patients locally in the coming weeks to come.”

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