Hundreds line up for drive-thru COVID-19 testing in Marion County

Staff photo by Troy Stolt / A health worker swabs a Marion County resident for coronavirus at a mobile testing location, located at Chattanooga State Community College's Kimball Site on Saturday, April 18, 2020 in Kimball, Tenn. Health workers from the Marion County Health Department and the Tennessee Department of Health work with members of the Tennessee National Guard worked together to provide testing at the site.

The Tennessee Department of Health opened 33 drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites over the weekend, including one in Marion County.

From 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at least 300 people visited the testing site at Chattanooga State Community College in Kimball.

Amanda Goodard, spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Health Southeast Regional Office, said the final numbers will surely be higher than 300.

Goodard said several cars that visited the Marion County site had multiple people in each vehicle.

"We were prepared to have a lot of people come out, so we were ready for it," Goodard said as she helped with traffic control.

Goodard said people were lining up at the Marion County site at 7:30 a.m. Saturday.

Even at 1 p.m., an hour after deputies closed off the entrance to the testing site, health department officials from the state and Marion County were signing people in and performing nasal swabs.

Goodard said the widespread effort is Tennessee's most recent championed by Gov. Bill Lee to ramp up COVID-19 testing.

The free COVID-19 testing sites were for any Tennesseans, regardless of symptoms or referrals from health care providers. Test results usually come back within 72 hours.

The Department of Health will continue to offer similar testing in the coming weeks.

For more information on how and where to get tested, visit or call 833-556-2476 or 877-857-2945.

Contact Patrick Filbin at or 423-757-6476. Follow him on Twitter @PatrickFilbin.