NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Tennessee is seeing not just a spike in active COVID-19 cases, but the number of people getting tested is also skyrocketing.
Many people still plan on traveling home for the holidays despite the pandemic and plan to get tested before they go.
Metro and Tennessee leaders are anticipating big crowds at COVID-19 testing sites so they have extended hours this week so more people will have access to testing.
The testing hours at the Metro sites will be 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. - that's extended from the usual hours of 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The state is also expanding hours at its testing sites from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. The goal is to also get results back quickly, within 72 hours before folks are traveling for Thanksgiving, but the health department did warn if a huge number of people show up on Monday, then that would naturally slow down the time frame of getting results.
"We have, in essence, talked to many of the lab partners we use. Not only our lab but also our commercial lab partners and have alerted them, 'hey you might get a bowl of some tests on Monday, will you reserve some capacity for us?' This is not unlike when we do other large-scale events like prison testing, etc.," said Dr. Lisa Piercey, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Health.
In Metro Nashville, residents can go to the following places for a test:
- Nissan Stadium Lot "N" - 501 S. Second Street
- Meharry Medical College - 918 21st Avenue N.
- Former Kmart - 2491 Murfreesboro Pike
Other Tennessee residents can click here for a full list of state-run testing centers.
Experts say another way to keep the family safe this Thanksgiving is by limiting who you spend thanksgiving with, like following the rule of eight or hosting your dinner outside.
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- Nashville's COVID-19 testing centers to adjust operating hours
- Walmart pharmacies in Tennessee now offering COVID-19 vaccines
- Donate to the COVID-19 Middle Tennessee Emergency Response Fund
COUNTY-BY-COUNTY CASES IN TENNESSEE
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.