Could more COVID testing sites be on the way?

Posted at 6:31 PM, Aug 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-20 19:45:38-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — As COVID-19 rates begin to rise, testing centers, both private and public, are seeing an increase in demand.

Much of the demand, according to Metro Councilman Freddie O'Connell, has to do with children getting sick. He said he's been contacted by a handful of pediatricians who all said the same thing. Their offices are seeing a big surge in tests.

"Now, kids are getting COVID and we're seeing a steady uptick of pediatric cases and hospitalizations," said O'Connell. "Parents are, justifiably going out and trying to get their kids tested."

Metro closed down some of the testing sites since the end of the last wave. However, as cases pick up, O'Connell believes there's justification to reopen them.

"We either need to move to a model of returning to those community test centers or be really clear about how we're expecting private medical practices to be doing this," he said.

Mayor John Cooper said he believes the private testing sites are doing a good job and are more prevalent than early on in the pandemic.

"Right now the private health system is very good at doing testing," said Mayor Cooper. "So, the city testing site might not be as famous or as visible but it doesn't mean that lots of tests aren't taking place."

Tests are available at many drug stores, grocery stores and clinics. Also, the city has pop-up vaccination sites daily. Tests are also available at those sites.

A spokesperson for the office of emergency management said the city is already scouting sites for another testing facility. They said they're monitoring the COVID-19 levels for when it should open.

Still, O'Connell thinks that time should be as early as possible.

"We did a great job last year of making tests available. I think it makes sense to pull back a little bit when the demand goes away, but the demand is surging back," he said.