Only people who meet certain criteria can be tested for COVID-19 at Oak Ridge High School today (Friday, April 17).
The criteria, established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, include only people with COVID-19 symptoms, first responders, health care workers, and patients who may have been exposed to the virus, the City of Oak Ridge said Thursday night.
COVID-19 symptoms include fever, cough, or shortness of breath. COVID-19 is a contagious respiratory illness that can be deadly.
Appointments for testing must be made online at KrogerHealth.com/COVIDtesting or by phone at (888) 837-8852.
If someone who meets CDC criteria is unable to register online or by phone, they can be registered on site, but they still need to meet the CDC criteria, the city said.
The free drive-through testing is being offered by the City of Oak Ridge and Kroger Health. It’s in the Oak Ridge High School parking lot near Oak Ridge Turnpike. The testing started Wednesday and ends today. It’s scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Initially, those who wanted to be tested had to have symptoms and meet testing criteria.
But the testing had been briefly opened to everyone, regardless of whether they showed symptoms, after Tennessee Governor Bill Lee on Wednesday announced free testing for all Tennessee residents. For a while, appointments were requested but not required.
But there was an increase in the number of people who arrived at the testing site without appointments, so appointments are required again. That started Thursday afternoon.
It’s not clear if the change in testing criteria, which appear to be the same or similar to the original criteria, is related to increased demand.
Kroger Health is providing up to 750 tests over the three-day period.
“Thank you for your patience and understanding during this ever-changing time,” the city said Thursday night, regarding the restriction of testing to those who meet the CDC criteria. “We look forward to getting more Oak Ridgers and Tennesseans tested tomorrow so we can be armed with the data we need to fight this invisible enemy!”
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.
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.
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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