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Health Department to offer walk-up testing program next week

Walk-up screening will be available Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at department headquarters at 140 Dameron Ave.

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — The Knox County Health Department will start offering walk-up screening for COVID-19 beginning Monday, the department announced Thursday.

The walk-up screening will be available Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at its headquarters at 140 Dameron Ave., according to Charity Menefee, director of communicable and environmental disease and emergency preparedness.

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Menefee said the effort is a "pilot" program, meaning it could be subject to change.

The change means people who want a test won't need to call the public information line to set up a time for screening. The testing samples will then be reviewed to see if the person is indeed positive for the virus.

Signage on the Dameron Avenue door will direct people where to go in the building, Menefee said.

The department previously has been conducting drive-thru testing. The change will help improve against potential exposure to staff and also spare them the seasonal heat that's coming, Menefee said.

She said authorities expect the public level of interest will be high next week.

Tuesdays and Thursdays will continue to be used for targeted testing, so walk-ups won't be available on those days.

The department reported one new positive case Thursday, taking the count to 367. The new number comes after three days of small but steady increases.

There are 47 active cases, one less than Wednesday.

Two residents are hospitalized with the virus. Five people have died since March, and there are 10 probable cases.

The department offers free testing, although it's asking residents to provide insurance information if they have it in case the provider covers the testing. Screening also is available at private clinics and centers.