NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee said Monday its coronavirus testing push over the weekend resulted in over 7,000 tests.
The virus tests at multiple locations Saturday and Sunday were free and open to any Tennessean regardless of symptoms. Widespread COVID-19 testing is seen as a key by health officials from the federal to the local level to ease restrictions that will allow the state’s economy to reopen.
“We expanded testing availability to any Tennessean who believes they need a test because testing remains one of our most important tools in tracking and mitigating the spread of COVID-19,” said Gov. Bill Lee in a news release. “We’re grateful to the thousands of Tennesseans who came out to get tested, and we’re incredibly thankful for the efforts of our Department of Health and National Guard personnel for making these testing sites a reality.”
Tennessee Department of Health and Tennessee National Guard personnel tested 4,247 people on Saturday at 10 sites across the state. Two metropolitan areas, Hamilton and Shelby counties, were added from the previous weekend with the Hamilton site operating Saturday and Sunday.
Eight sites were operational on Sunday with another 2,856 people tested.
On both days lanes at certain sites were opened early to accommodate large lines and some sites offered “walk-up” testing to alleviate potential delays, the state said.
In the Knoxville area, 974 were tested in Anderson County, 682 in Jefferson County, 520 in Knox County, and 172 in Hawkins County (closed early due to weather on Sunday),
“We’re pleased with the number of Tennesseans who came out to get tested, and our capacity could have handled twice as many tests if needed,” said Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey. “As Tennesseans begin the process of returning to work, we strongly encourage them to take advantage of these opportunities to get a test and help us mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”
Tennessee’s Unified-Command will continue expanded testing this weekend, according to a news release, and an updated list of sites will be posted on the Department of Health’s website.
All rural county health departments across the state offer free COVID-19 testing 5 days a week, in addition to drive-thru sites.
A joint partnership between the Tennessee Department of Health, Tennessee Department of Military, and the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA), Unified-Command was established on March 23 by the governor and serves as the state’s coordinated response to the coronavirus pandemic.
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