Tennessee restarting free, rural drive-thru COVID-19 testing in Grundy, two other counties

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee visits a drive-through COVID-19 testing location Saturday, April 18, 2020, in Franklin, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

NASHVILLE - With coronavirus cases spiking in rural areas of Tennessee, Gov. Bill Lee's administration announced Wednesday that officials are restarting free drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites this Saturday, beginning in three counties, among them Grundy County.

"We've seen an upward trend in COVID cases in rural Tennessee that are cause for concern," state Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey said in a news release released by the governor's Unified Command group. "Bringing back weekend drive-thru testing helps with access to testing which will help combat COVID-19's continued health threat."

In addition to testing, Piercey said Tennesseans "need to take simple, yet impactful, precautions - wearing masks, washing hands and social distancing – to protect themselves."

Testing sites will be open from 9 a.m. to noon local time and will remain open until all vehicles in line have received tests, officials say.

The drive-thru testing site for Grundy County is Grundy County High School in Coalmont. Another is in Fentress County, also on the Cumberland Plateau, with officials using the Fentress County Senior Citizens Center in Jamestown.

In West Tennessee's Dyer County, the Dyersburg High School in Dyersburg will host the drive-thru testing site.

Saturday's testing events in Grundy, Fentress and Dyer counties, kick off an ongoing effort through the fall to bring weekend COVID-19 testing opportunities to rural Tennesseans.

Participants will receive notifications of their results and leave contact information with the health department to provide education on isolation and quarantine recommendations that officials say are important aspects of slowing the virus' spread.

Tennessee National Guard medics and Tennessee Department of Health personnel, operating under the Unified Command group, will be at each rural testing site to collect nasal swabs from those who voluntarily agree to a COVID-19 test.

Participants should receive their test results within 72 hours, officials say, depending on test processing volume at laboratories. Information will be provided to participants at the testing locations on what they can expect after being tested.