KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The Knox County Health Department’s no appointment drive-thru testing was nearly overwhelmed on Monday so changes are being implemented.

Testing is suspended Wednesday with revamped COVID-19 testing procedures being rolled out Thursday.

Widespread testing is a major component of both the federal recommendations to lift stay-at-home orders in states and in Gov. Bill Lee’s plans to get the state’s economy going again, but, according to state figures, less than 4,000 of the 108,182 statewide COVID-19 tests have been done in Knox County. The state did 11,000 tests in mostly rural counties over the weekend.

Here is the new plan for testing from Knox County: On Thursday and Friday, COVID-19 testing is available by appointment only.

In another change from Monday, appointments are prioritized for contacts of confirmed cases and those who are symptomatic, the Health Department said.

Symptoms and testing guidance is available here.

To make an appointment, call the department’s public information line at 865-215-5555 or toll-free at 888-288-6022.

The information line is available from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 pm. on Saturday and Sunday.

Testing is at the Knox County Engineering and Public Works Building, 205 W. Baxter Ave.

Enter through the Wray Street entrance. There will be signs and staff directing traffic.

Knox County Health Deparment map showing how to access drive-through testing site opening Monday, April 20, 2002. (Knox County Health Department)

Individuals should bring photo identification, if available.

Health workers will collect nasal swab specimens and notify patients as soon as results are available. The timing of results is dependent upon the volume of samples received by the lab.

All those tested need to self-isolate at least until results are available, longer if the test is positive, the Health Department said.

If transportation is an issue, call the Health Department’s phone bank at 865-215-5555 and an alternate testing option will be recommended.

While labs are working to increase turnaround time, results are typically available between three and five days.

Those concerned about their health are encouraged to call their primary care provider. If their
primary care provider is not testing for COVID-19 or if someone does not have a primary care
provider, they are encouraged to get tested through the Health Department.

Those experiencing emergency medical situations, including difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion or inability to arouse, or bluish lips or face, are urged to seek immediate medical attention.

Common COVID-19 symptoms include:

  • Fever and respiratory symptoms, such as coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tiredness, aches and pains
  • Nasal congestion, runny nose
  • Loss of smell or taste
  • Sore throat
  • Diarrhea.

Some people become infected but do not develop symptoms. The majority of people recover from the disease without needing special treatment.

(AP Graphic)