The state had nearly half the number of testing sites from the first weekend of free drive-thru testing, offered to anyone who wants to be screened for COVID-19. But they still swabbed 7,103 people over two days.
The weekend testing was held at 18 sites including several Middle Tennessee counties — Maury, Montgomery, Putnam, Smith and Williamson counties. State officials said they planned to have expanded capacity but at fewer sites.
The first weekend of testing for symptom-free Tennesseans resulted in 11,230 tests across 33 sites, and some people waited in their car for hours. The mass screening has padded the state’s testing stats, pushing the total to nearly 150,000 as of Sunday.
Tennessee has a higher testing rate than the U.S. average, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation tracker. But the state’s drive-thru screening is yielding very few positive results, with just 1.2% of the people tested the first weekend coming back positive for the coronavirus, according to Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey.
Tennessee’s mass testing is scheduled to continue next weekend.
Davidson County, which operates its own health department independent of the state, is running its own drive-thru testing centers. They’re only open on weekdays, but health officials say they now have the same offer to test anyone, whether they have symptoms or not, and the tests will be free to them.