NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Two of three new assessment centers for COVID-19 opened Monday in Davidson County.
The city has been working to open drive-thru assessment centers for weeks. They were waiting until they had enough tests and equipment to not just open, but to stay open.
The city is asking potential patients to call the Community Assessment System Hotline at 615-862-7777 before coming out. It's open every day from 7a.m. to 7p.m. A medical professional will determine if a patient's symptoms warrant testing.
Dr. Alex Jahangir, Nashville Coronavirus Task Force director and William Swann, Nashville Fire Department, held a press conference to explain how the system will work.
One of the centers is open in lot N at Nissan Stadium’s parking lot off Shelby Avenue and Second Avenue. Another center is located outside Meharry Medical College.
Starting Wednesday, a third assessment center will open at the old Kmart location on Murfreesboro Pike in Antioch.
The tests and assessments are free as they are paid for by state tax dollars. This option is only available to Davidson County residents who are concerned they have COVID-19.
"I want to emphasize this community assessment system is in addition to the world-class healthcare system of hospitals and medical schools we already have in Nashville," said Dr. Alex Jahangir, chairman of Metropolitan Board of Health and the Metro Coronavirus Task Force. "The system expands our capabilities to assess even more residents and conduct even more tests."
The centers will be open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. It takes 5 to 7 days to get results back as results are sent to a private lab that partners with the state.
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What is COVID-19 (a.k.a. the new coronavirus?)
According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Examples include the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. COVID-19 stands for "Coronavirus disease 2019," which is when this strain of the coronavirus was discovered.
What are the symptoms?
The CDC says patients confirmed to have the 2019-nCoV reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Or at least two of the following symptoms:
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
At this time, the CDC believes symptoms could appear as soon as two days after exposure, or as long as 14 days.
The CDC is recommending "common sense" measures such as:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.