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Jo Co hosts COVID-19 testing

Members of the Tennessee Department of Health and Johnson County Community Hospital gather and prepare themselves before conducting more than 200 free COVID-19 tests at Johnson County High School on Wednesday, April 22. There were 18 staff members and 16 from the National Guard. Submitted photo.

By Meg Dickens

More than 200 people made the trek to Johnson County High School on Wednesday, April 22, to participate in the free COVID-19 testing, courtesy of the Johnson County Health Department and the Northeast Regional Health Office. According to Health Council Coordinator Jayne Harper, this event is the third in northeast Tennessee. Testing is more important than ever with Governor Bill Lee’s reprisal of Safer at Home.

Even though restaurants and other businesses are reopening, this is not the time to grow complacent. Harper emphasized that the message is, “Do not let your guard down.” Continue to follow the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines and use wise judgment when going into public.

“Social distancing is actually more important now than ever,” County Mayor Mike Taylor reminded. “Our residents have been taking it seriously, and they are doing a great in abiding by the guidelines.

Tennessee Department of Health workers followed CDC guidelines to a tee. They conducted testing while wearing gowns and gloves taped down at the wrist. There were 18 Tennessee Health Department staff, some from the Johnson County Community Hospital, and 16 members of the National Guard at the site.

Upon arrival, participants receive a packet ensuring privacy and sharing tips on what to expect after testing. Everyone stays in their vehicle while either a nurse or National Guard medic takes a nasal sample. Test results may be back in as few as 72 hours. All people tested will receive a phone call whether they test positive or negative. All people found positive will go through a brief interview to determine those in close contact and encourage them to be tested.

The Tennessee Department of Health will hold another drive-through testing event at Hampton High School, located at 766 1st Avenue in Hampton, on Saturday, May 2.Harper invites any Johnson County citizens that missed the April 22 event to come out and get tested between 9 AM and 3 PM.No appointments are necessary. Locals can also call the Johnson County Health Department at (423) 727-9731 to set up an appointment for testing. Testing will continue until further notice.