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COVID-19 testing expanded statewide

Local drive-thru testing event scheduled for April 22

Staff note:According to hospital administration, Johnson County Community Hospital in Mountain City is not offering coronavirus rapid testing at this time. Please read our top story on COVID-19 testing sites and events in this edition of The Tomahawk.

By Jill Penley

Gov Bill Lee announced an aggressive expansion of COVID-19 testing across the state last week and released a list of Northeast Region drive-thru testing sites, including one in nearby Carter County. The governor wants testing to be available for any Tennessean at no charge, regardless of whether citizens are experiencing the traditional symptoms of the virus, which include fever, a dry cough, and difficulty breathing.  

“As we look to reboot our state’s economy, we must have a greater understanding of how this virus is operating in Tennessee,” said Gov. Lee. “Expanding our COVID-19 testing capacity allows more Tennesseans to have improved access to testing, which will empower citizens to make informed health decisions.”

On Friday, the Northeast Regional Health Office and Johnson County Health Department announced a COVID-19 drive-through testing event for the community at Johnson County High School, 290 Fairground Lane, on Wed, April 22, from 2 to 6 pm.

Public Health Nurses and/or National Guard medics will collect nasal swabs from those who want to be tested, and a Public Health Nurse will contact each person tested to provide results within three to seven days, depending on lab volume for processing samples.

“This is to complement the testing that was already being done and continues at the Johnson County Health Department,” said Caroline Hurt, County Director, Carter & Johnson County Health Departments, who indicates a person desiring a test should contact the NE Region Information Line to pre-register so an appointment time can be provided. “The COVID-19 drive through testing event in Johnson County on April 22 represents efforts to expand testing to anyone who is concerned for their own health or that of their family members.” This particular event does not require pre-registration or an appointment. “People will drive up to the Johnson County High School site between 2 and 6 p.m. and will remain in their vehicles through a brief registration process and sample collection via nasal swab,” explained Hurt.

The Tennessee Department of Health’s website (, which provides a breakdown of cases per county, testing numbers, and recoveries, is updated daily. According to Hurt, positive results reported on the TDH website reflect the county of residence, not where they were tested.

“Cases reported as recovered are from among those positive cases who became asymptomatic and completed their isolation period,” said Hurt.

State health officials provide the following recommendations:

•Wash your hands often with soap and water (or alcohol-based hand rub) for at least 20 seconds, especially after coughing or sneezing.

•Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands

•Stay home when you are sick

•Cover your coughs and sneezes with your arm or a tissue

•Clean and disinfect objects (e.g., cell phone, computer) and high touch surfaces regularly.

The availability of testing at the Johnson County Health Department will continue via pre-registration by contacting the NE Region Information Line at 423-979-4689.

Availability of testing at the Johnson County Health Department will continue via pre-registration by contacting the NE Region Information Line at 423-979-4689.