The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, working with the Shelby County Health Department and the City of Memphis, today began drive-thru testing for COVID-19 at Tiger Lane at the Memphis Fairgrounds.
Testing will be done in a series of tents set up at the Fairgrounds, and it is hoped, at other community sites in the coming weeks. Faculty of the UTHSC College of Medicine and other health care professionals have volunteered to staff the tents and perform the testing.
To qualify for testing, an individual must first be referred by a medical provider to a centralized call center at University Clinical Health (UCH), one of UTHSC’s affiliated physician practice partners, to ensure symptoms merit testing.
Individuals approved for testing will be given an appointment for the drive-thru test site. They will remain in their cars throughout the testing process. Intake will be handled in one tent, where they will provide valid identification and sign informed consent if they want to allow their samples to be used for research purposes as well. The testing will be done in another tent. The results will be sent to the health care providers of those tested.
“Even with several hospitals implementing commercial testing in the region, there is a critical need in our community to test more broadly for COVID-19 as a means to understand the scope of the pandemic and to limit the traffic of potentially infected individuals to our emergency rooms, facilitating our ability to care for the sickest patients,” said Scott Strome, MD, executive dean of the UTHSC College of Medicine.
“UTHSC is uniquely positioned to deal with the challenge of providing large-scale testing for our community, with shorter times to confirmation of the tests,” said Jon McCullers, MD, senior associate dean for Clinical Affairs for the College of Medicine. “Our partnerships with the city, county, and state make this effort possible.”
As the state’s public academic health care institution, UTHSC has also launched a website, uthsc.edu/coronavirus, designed to be a one-stop resource for the public, including the best available information about coronavirus, as well as frequently asked questions, and links to national, state, and local organizations monitoring the virus. The site, which is available in Spanish at uthsc.edu/coronavirus-es/, also has an interactive option that allows the public to ask the experts at UTHSC questions about the virus and receive answers.