In recent addresses to Georgians regarding COVID-19, Governor Brian Kemp has applauded the launch of Augusta University’s COVID-19 telemedicine app and highlighted the value of public-private partnerships. Thursday Augusta University received a $400,000 donation from SK innovation to support Augusta University and Augusta University Health’s response and associated expenses pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I want to thank both SK innovation and the dedicated team at Augusta University for their incredible contributions as our state continues to fight COVID-19,” said Governor Kemp. “We are all in this together, and from the beginning, SK innovation has proven itself a valuable partner to Georgia. Increased, streamlined testing is paramount, and this donation will help further enhance our screening capacity and help keep Georgians safe.”
Specifically, the SK innovation gift will be used to support expenses associated with physicians at the Medical College of Georgia, the state’s only public medical school, and health care providers at AU Health providing free virtual telehealth COVID-19 screening visits through the AU Health ExpressCare app and testing through eleven drive-thru specimen collection locations statewide. SK innovation’s significant contribution to Augusta University will help the state continue to enhance its testing capacity while reducing exposure for Georgia’s doctors, nurses, and medical staff through at-home screening.
“It’s a great honor to be able to contribute to the safety of Georgia. SK innovation will stand together with the State of Georgia and Augusta University,” said SK innovation CEO Jun Kim. “We look forward to continuously contributing to Georgians’ happiness and social values as well as economic prosperity through a close partnership.”
“We’re grateful to SK innovation for their generous donation and to Governor Kemp for sharing information statewide about our virtual platform,” said Augusta University President Brooks A. Keel, PhD. “This donation further exemplifies the importance of public-private partnerships and will help our medical providers continue to deliver virtual COVID-19 screenings to all Georgians at no cost.”
SK innovation is a world leader in developing and manufacturing lithium-ion based batteries for electric vehicles and part of the SK Group, one of the largest conglomerates in South Korea. In 2019, the company broke ground on its $1.67 billion investment, secured by the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD), in building two brand-new facilities in Jackson County that will employ more than 2,000 Georgians upon completion.
“Our relationships have always been among our state’s most vital resources, and this partnership between Augusta University and SK innovation is another example of what we can do when we work together,” said GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson. “We thank SK innovation for their continued commitment to Georgia.”
Through Augusta University Health System COVID-19 Virtual Screening, patients can now receive free virtual screenings for coronavirus (COVID-19), twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week – with no appointment required – when they visit the AU Health COVID-19 Virtual Screening website or download the AU Health Express Care app for Apple or Android devices.
During the virtual screening, the provider will ask about common symptoms of infection and duration, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath, as well as questions related to medical history and risk of virus exposure. Patients who screen positive will be directed to a drive-thru location to provide a specimen for testing. Results will be provided in approximately seventy-two hours through a secure patient portal and by phone. All Georgians are encouraged to download the app and begin the screening process.