More testing brings COVID-19 case surge in Chattanooga; is it also a sign of danger?

Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter / Cars wait in line to get free testing offered by Cempa Community Care at the Avondale Youth and Family Development Center on Wednesday, May 20, 2020 in Chattanooga, Tenn. Cempa was offering free walk-up and drive-thru testing for COVID-19.

A group of local public health leaders sat around a picnic table at the Avondale Youth and Family Development Center on Wednesday, recapping a successful day of COVID-19 testing.

Anyone who wanted to be tested for the coronavirus - regardless of symptoms, age, job, where they lived or their immigration status - could walk up or drive through in their vehicle and get swabbed by a clinician at no cost. People didn't need to have an appointment, a doctor's referral or health insurance. If they didn't have transportation, a free shuttle would pick them up and bring them to the Avondale center parking lot.

Everyone who took advantage of the service - 380 people - could expect to find out whether they were COVID-19 positive or negative within 24 to 72 hours.

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