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NGHS Sees Record Number of COVID-19 Cases Over Holiday

Now Habersham

The Northeast Georgia Health System experienced a record number of COVID-19 cases over the holiday weekend.

According to a media release, 181 confirmed cases were admitted into hospitals and long-term care facilities on Tuesday. Health officials say they are bracing for a surge in testing as a result.  

While testing is more available now than at the start of the pandemic, testing supplies are still limited.

There is a two to three-day wait for results.

To find a testing location near you, visit the Northeast Georgia Health System’s website at

The incubation period for coronavirus is 14 days, but most patients show symptoms between five and seven days after exposure.

Frequently Asked Questions:

To help you navigate COVID-19 testing successfully, here are some frequently asked questions:

  1.  When and where should I get tested if I have been exposed?

The incubation period for COVID-19 is 14 days, and most patients show symptoms between five and seven days after exposure. It is best to wait 7-10 days after exposure – or earlier if symptoms appear – to be tested. Remember, if you’ve been exposed, you should quarantine following CDC guidelines. To find a testing location near you, visit
     2.  Am I eligible for the rapid test?

​Symptomatic first responders, healthcare workers and some high-risk patients may get a rapid test depending on availability.

     3.  How long will it take to get my results back?

Rapid tests are processed in a matter of hours. All other COVID-19 tests are sent out for processing and returned within two to three business days when the labs can keep up with demand. We have seen surges in testing that caused additional delays at area labs because there were simply too many tests to keep up – and that kind of surge may be possible if the numbers of cases in our community continue to rise.

     4.  Should I get a test before seeing family for the holidays?

​If you can find a location with enough supplies to accommodate testing for an asymptomatic patient, it’s important to remember:

  1. The test takes two to three business days to process.
  2. You may still be exposed to or come down with the virus at any time after testing.
  3. That’s why it’s still important to take precautions and plan lower risk activities like small events for just your household or virtual gatherings so you can visit with loved ones remotely.

“We know people are tired of hearing about wearing masks, washing hands and watching their distance,” said Dr. Hastings. “Trust me, our nurses, doctors and other staff are tired, too. But those are the only actions that can limit the spread of the virus. The entire spirit of the holidays is to think about others first and doing whatever you can to help them, so I hope everyone really takes that to heart and protects the people they love the most.”

Alexia Ridley joined WUGA as Television and Radio News Anchor and Reporter in 2013. When WUGA TV concluded operations, she became the primary Reporter for WUGA Radio. Alexia came to Athens from Macon where she served as the News Director and show host for WGXA TV. She's a career journalist and Savannah native hailing from the University of Michigan. However, Alexia considers herself an honorary UGA DAWG!
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