Friday update: Only people who meet certain criteria can be tested for COVID-19 at Oak Ridge High School today (Friday, April 17). See newer story here.
Kroger Health is now testing everyone at an Oak Ridge site, regardless of whether they show symptoms of COVID-19, a city spokesperson said Thursday morning.
The testing site opened at Oak Ridge High School on Wednesday morning, and it is open through Friday afternoon.
Initially, those who wanted to be tested had 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.
But the testing criteria changed after Tennessee Governor Bill Lee on Wednesday announced free testing for all Tennessee residents.
“Kroger has lifted the restriction that you must show symptoms to be tested,” Oak Ridge spokesperson Lauren Gray said Thursday.
Anyone who wants to be tested, whether they show symptoms or not, can now be tested Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Oak Ridge High School near Oak Ridge Turnpike.
You can call (888) 837-8852 to schedule an appointment. You can also visit www.krogerhealth.com/covidtesting or simply show up at the testing site and be registered on site, Gray said.
“Since many people aren’t showing signs of infection at this point, we are hoping to get as many people tested as possible to get an accurate sense of how many people might be infected but asymptomatic,” she said
The testing involves the City of Oak Ridge. Among other things, the Oak Ridge Fire Department and Oak Ridge Police Department have been helping at the testing site.
Before testing began Wednesday morning, about 200 appointments had been scheduled over a three-day period, the city said Wednesday.
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.
Test results can be expected within three to seven days. Kroger Health is working to partner with labs that offer even faster turnaround time, Gray said Wednesday. Kroger Health is providing up to 750 tests over the three-day period.
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.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
You can contact John Huotari, owner and publisher of Oak Ridge Today, at (865) 951-9692 or [email protected]
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