“As we look to reboot our state’s economy, we must have a greater understanding of how this virus is operating in Tennessee,” Lee said in a news release. “Expanding our COVID-19 testing capacity allows more Tennesseans to have improved access to testing, which will empower citizens to make informed health decisions.”
According to Lee, the state's expanded testing will begin April 18-19 at 15 drive-thru testing sites across the state. The testing sites, operated by the National Guard, will also be open during the weekends of April 25-26 and May 2-3.
Medics at each testing site will collect nasal swabs from those who want to be tested. Test results are projected to be delivered to residents within 72 hours of testing, according to state health officials.
“Our clinical understanding of COVID-19 is changing rapidly, and we need every Tennessean who isn’t feeling well, even outside of the traditional COVID-19 symptoms of cough, fever or difficulty breathing, to come out and get tested,” Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey said in the release.
Lee's announcement comes two days after he extended the statewide stay-at-home order through April 30. State officials are working on a plan that would allow businesses to reopen in May, according to Lee.
“We need Tennesseans to go back to work, but we need everyone to recognize that social distancing must continue for the foreseeable future,” Lee said at a press briefing April 13.
As of April 15, there are 6,079 cases of coronavirus across the state, according to the Tennessee Department of Health. This includes 135 deaths, 663 cumulative hospitalizations and 2,196 recovered patients.
One testing site will be open in Williamson County at 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on April 18 at the Williamson County Health Department,1324 West Main Street, Franklin. Find the complete list of testing sites open April 18-19 on the TDH's website.