PHOTO GALLERY: Free COVID-19 testing at Volunteer draws big crowd, long line

Jeff Bobo • Apr 18, 2020 at 12:26 PM

CHURCH HILL — There was a long line of vehicles waiting for free Covid-19 drive-thru testing when it began at 9 a.m. on Saturday at Volunteer High School, with some people waiting as much as two hours, but by around noon that wait time had been cut in half.

When testing began at 9 a.m., the line started on Tipton Avenue near the Rogan Street intersection, and those who were that far back had a wait time of about two hours before reaching a testing tent.

From Tipton Avenue, the line turned west onto Volunteer Street, and then onto campus just past the football field. Two tents were set up for testing in the parking lot between the school building and the football stadium ticket office. Two testing tents were set up in the school parking lot. 

An attendant took down information from each person being tested, including name, address, phone number and email address, and asked a few questions about any symptoms and possible contact with someone who had been infected. 

The test involved swabbing the back of both nostrils with a Q-tip, which causes some discomfort and eye watering. The results of the test will be sent to each patient in three to seven days.

If you want to be tested but couldn’t attend Saturday’s session in Church Hill, there are additional drive-thru COVID-19 testing locations on Sunday across the state. The closest ones include:

Washington County: East Tennessee State University, 1276 Gilbreath Drive, Johnson City, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Claiborne County: Claiborne County Health Department, 620 Davis St., New Tazewell, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Grainger County: Grainger County Health Department, 185 Justice Center Drive, Rutledge, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Saturday’s testing was provided at no cost to participants, and those who come for testing can remain in their vehicles throughout the entire process.

Nurses and/or National Guard medics at each site will collect nasal swabs from those who want to be tested, and test results may be available within 72 hours after the samples arrive at the lab, depending on lab volume.

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