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Briggs: Drive-thru coronavirus screening sites planned locally

Dr. Richard Briggs said he consulted Monday with Knox County health officials and physicians.
Credit: KAMA
Knoxville Academy of Medicine, area hospital and the Health Department are considering drive-thru coronavirus screening options.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Knox County officials and medical health professionals are preparing to launch four local drive-through spots where people could submit to screening for possible exposure to the coronavirus, state Sen. Richard Briggs said Monday.

The locations and timeline are not set yet but could be announced soon, Briggs said.

Gov. Bill Lee also mentioned plans for 15 remote testing sites in the six major metropolitan areas of the state by the end of the week. He also did not have any specific details.

Questions such as what the cost would be and who would pay it also must be resolved, he said.

Briggs, a surgeon and Knoxville lawmaker, joined a conference call Monday that included area hospital officials, the Knox County Health Department and area physicians in reviewing screening options.

The drive-thru spots would only take swabs of patients. They would not perform on-site testing. That would still have to be done at a lab.

Briggs also said Tennessee lawmakers are now weighing how they can approve emergency funding so that Gov. Bill Lee and state offices will have added money to address the virus crises.

With that in mind, the upcoming budget will also have to be addressed and is likely to be "skinny" and not as robust as appeared likely before the pandemic began to take hold, he said.