Gov. Brian Kemp gives an update on coronavirus in Georgia on March 9, 2020. (Photo by Beau Evans)

ATLANTA – The state’s effort to increase testing for COVID-19 is starting to pay off.

Nearly 13,000 new tests were reported to the Georgia Department of Public Health’s website Tuesday, the most in a single day since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Initially, the state was testing only elderly Georgians and those with chronic illnesses, considered the most vulnerable to contracting COVID-19, as well as health-care workers and first responders likely to be exposed to the virus.

On Monday, Gov. Brian Kemp said testing has been ramped up to the point that all Georgians showing symptoms can and should be tested. There’s also enough testing capacity to test Georgians without symptoms but who are health-care workers, first responders, law enforcement personnel or residents or staff of a long-term care facility, he said.

“We are making significant progress,” Kemp said Tuesday after reporting the record-high daily tests. “We are pushing our testing capacity to the max. … We have the sites, the physicians and the tests. We just need more Georgians to participate.

Kemp has made making tests more readily available a key component in his goal of reopening businesses he shut down early this month when he issued a shelter-in-place order.

Gyms and fitness centers, bowling alleys and close-contact businesses including barbershops and hair salons were allowed to reopen last Friday. Dine-in portions of restaurants and movie theaters got the go-ahead to reopen starting Monday.

The shelter-in-place order is due to expire this Thursday, unless Kemp extends it, except for the elderly and medically fragile, who must remain at home at least through May 13.

Georgia now has 49 COVID-19 testing sites, set up through the combined efforts of the state public health department, the University System of Georgia, local public health agencies and the private sector. The Georgia National Guard has opened another nine testing sites.

The 49 sites are listed on the Department of Public Health’s website at

The National Guard sites are at the following locations:

  • Clayton State Parking Deck, 5893 North Drive, Morrow
  • Kennesaw State University Parking Deck, 525 Parliament Garden Way NW, Kennesaw
  • Colquitt Regional Medical Center, 3131 South Main St., Moultrie
  • Decatur Armory, 3136 Durham Park Road, Decatur
  • Albany Civic Center, 100 W. Oglethorpe Boulevard, Albany
  • Greenbriar Mall, 2841 Greenbriar Parkway SW, Atlanta
  • Georgia State University Blue Parking Lot, 521 Capitol Ave., Atlanta
  • M.E. Lewis Elementary School, 11145 Georgia Highway 15, Sparta
  • Rock Creek Sports Complex, 445 Martin Road, Dawsonville

Days and hours of operation at the National Guard sites vary.