SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Starting next week, the Chatham County Health Department is transitioning to appointments only for its COVID-19 testing process.

Criteria are not changing — anyone can be tested for free, regardless of symptoms. However, beginning Monday, Nov. 16, the only way to receive a test will be by appointment made online or by the testing hotline:

The testing schedule has not changed.

Health department officials say this new process will help maximize internal resources in their long-term response.

“We need to position ourselves to sustain testing operations for many more months,” said Chris Rustin, Ph.D., administrator of the Chatham County Health Department. “With appointments, we can reduce the number of staff members on site for traffic flow and patient registration while still meeting the needs of our community.”

There will be more than 1,600 available appointments each week in Chatham County, which exceeds the current weekly average of 1,350 tests.