With testing up and cases down, Hamilton County officials ask citizens to remain careful until COVID-19 vaccine is developed

Staff photo by Troy Stolt / Becky Barnes, administrator of health services for the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department, speaks during a news conference about the coronavirus (COVID-19) as Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger stands behind her at the McDaniel Building on Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Chattanooga, Tenn.

As community testing for COVID-19 booms and new cases slow down in Hamilton County, officials are warning citizens to tread lightly, as treatment and vaccination remain uncertain.

According to Hamilton County Health Department Administrator Becky Barnes, the tests will be done at the Riverfront Parkway emissions testing center and will allow for up to 360 patients to be tested on both Saturday and Sunday, thanks to testing resources provided by the National Guard.

That comes on top of the county's existing testing on weekdays at an emissions site on Bonnyshire Drive, also by appointment.

Even with the increased testing, Barnes warns that Hamilton County residents need to be cautious of the virus, because it is far from over.

"Certainly more testing is good for us. We are definitely interested in finding more cases if they are out there," Barnes told the Times Free Press Monday.