Note: This story was last updated at 2:55 p.m.
Drive-through testing for COVID-19 started Wednesday morning in Oak Ridge.
The free testing is being offered by the City of Oak Ridge and Kroger Health. It’s scheduled from Wednesday, April 15, to Friday, April 17, in the Oak Ridge High School parking lot near Oak Ridge Turnpike.
Before testing began Wednesday morning, about 200 appointments had been scheduled over a three-day period, the City of Oak Ridge said.
Up to 250 people can be tested at the drive-through station each day. You do not need to be an Oak Ridge citizen to get tested, the city said.
But you need to have symptoms and meet testing criteria. Symptoms of COVID-19, a contagious respiratory illness that can be deadly, include fever, cough, or shortness of breath.
Before attending the testing site, patients are asked to schedule an appointment via Kroger Health’s online portal at www.krogerhealth.com/covidtesting. Scheduling an appointment is required to receive a test. Under guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the only people who will be tested are people with symptoms or healthcare workers and first responders who have been exposed to the virus, the city said last week.
Test results can be expected within three to seven days. Kroger Health is working to partner with labs that offer even faster turnaround time, city spokesperson Lauren Gray said Wednesday. Kroger Health is providing up to 750 tests over the three-day period.
“Kroger Health is proud to partner with the Anderson County Health Department in this important effort to combat the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Colleen Lindholz, president of Kroger Health. “This aligns perfectly with our vision, which is to help people live healthier lives.”
When people arrive from North Tulane Avenue, they are to keep their windows rolled up and have their identification ready. They will be directed to a first tent where they will be asked if they’ve scheduled an appointment. Then, they will be directed to a second tent for registration. There, they will show their ID and get checked in. At the last tent, they will be handed a test to administer to themselves. A nurse practitioner will give them instructions on how to administer the test. When they are finished, they will hand their test to a nurse practitioner on site who will store it and make sure it’s sent off to the lab.
The line of people waiting in automobiles to be tested Wednesday morning was steady. There were generally fewer than a dozen automobiles in line at one time when Oak Ridge Today stopped by between 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.
The drive-through testing station can test up to 250 people per day. You do not need to be an Oak Ridge resident to get tested, the City of Oak Ridge said.
Before attending the testing site, patients will be asked to schedule an appointment via Kroger Health’s online portal at www.krogerhealth.com/covidtesting.
See previous story with more information about testing here.