KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — COVID-19 testing lines across East Tennessee are getting longer and longer. At any given time Tuesday afternoon, there were at least 20 vehicles filled with passengers waiting to get tested at one free testing site in town.
“I’m actually traveling internationally on Friday, so that’s why I needed to get the PCR,” said Nijan Angi, who was waiting in the line of the CovidEMT testing site outside the Grassy Valley Baptist Church, located at the intersection of Kingston Pike and Lovell Road in West Knoxville.
“I was sick for a few days,” added Elizabeth Raine who was also waiting in line. “My boss was like, ‘We know where a free one is if you want to go up there,’ because I’m supposed to be working today.”
Raine explained it’s not only because of her boss and work that she’s in the line, but also for her family.
“I’m diabetic,” she said. “My grandfather has heart problems and lives with me.”
Raine said she spent most of Tuesday morning looking for a testing site.
“The two places that I called, one of them is completely out of tests and the other one wouldn’t be able to make an appointment until Friday,” she said.
Test screener Shauni Warnack with CovidEMT said the lines at the drive-thru clinic have been getting longer and longer.
“It’s definitely increased, almost everyday since Christmas,” Warnack said.
She also explained why they administer both a rapid and PCR test.
“So they can know right away if they have it and then also you send it to the lab, it’s the better testing of the two, so you get both of them,” she said.
Lastly, Warnack said she feels the work she is doing is making a difference in her community.
“I’ve had people come up and just thank us and thank us,” she said. “So it’s definitely been a very rewarding job.”
A rewarding job that is also giving answers to those who could not find anywhere else to go.
“It’s worth the peace of mind to just sit in this line and go home and know what my next steps are,” Raine said.
There are several COVID-19 testing sites being hosted by CovidEMT. You can use this website to find the testing location closest to you. They are open 8:30 a.m. through 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.