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COVID-19 tests getting scarce in Knox County amid Omicron surge

The Knox County Health Department expanded testing to anyone who walks up to their main location in Knoxville.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Amid a surge of COVID-19 cases in East Tennessee, the Knox County Health Department expanded their testing to anybody who walks up to their testing site on weekdays. 

"We know that testing is becoming a little bit harder to find because of the surge that we're seeing," said KCHD Chief Strategy Officer Katharine Killen. "We wanted to do our part." 

KCHD expanded testing at its main location Wednesday,  giving tests to anybody regardless of their insurance coverage, symptoms or exposure. 

Previously, the department offered tests only for people who did not have insurance and had symptoms, or who were exposed to COVID-19. 

Aloma, who asked us not to use her last name, had symptoms for 4 four days before getting tested at the health department on Wednesday. 

"I thought that it was just the flu, but then I started feeling some severe symptoms," said Aloma. 

She called four different clinics, none could get her in on the same day for a test.

Because their clinic is walk-in only, Aloma went to the Knox County Health Department. Killen said KCHD expects to see results from COVID-19 tests after around 3 days.

By that point, Aloma will be seven days into showing symptoms of COVID-19. 

"All I do is try to wear a mask to protect everybody else around me," said Aloma. "I wish there was another way to resolve this, a way to take care of people quickly."

Sabrina Brittain said her son tested positive for the coronavirus and the rest of her family had to get tested because of it. 

"It took me several hours to find a place to test us and then we waited 3 hours in a waiting room," Brittain said. "It is sad and ridiculous how hard and expensive it is for a test." 

The Knox County Health Department's clinic is open every weekday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at their main location, on a walk-in basis. 

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