Kroger Health, UofM & Cherokee Health Systems to offer free COVID-19 testing

Kroger Health has announced an additional COVID-19 testing site next week for patients in the Memphis area.

Kroger Health, along with Cherokee Health Systems, is partnering with the University of Memphis to host the FREE drive-thru event. Testing will be Tuesday, May 5 through Thursday, May 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Testing will be held on the University of Memphis campus at the Central Avenue parking lot next to the Holiday Inn (signage will be displayed).

People needing a test will use a virtual screening tool based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines to see if they are eligible. Those who are eligible for the testing include health care workers, symptomatic individuals and asymptomatic individuals based on CDC, state and local government recommendations.

Interested individuals can schedule a test at:

Those eligible will then select the University of Memphis testing location and appointment time and receive an email confirmation with pre-appointment paperwork. When the patient arrives for a test, they should have a photo ID ready and leave their windows rolled up for check-in. A health care practitioner will approach the car and alert the patient when to roll down their window.

The drive-thru testing location has a self-administered nasal swab that must be ordered and observed by a provider. The onsite testing is supported with laboratory services provided by eTrueNorth, a contractor of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Test results are expected within approximately 48 hours. Kroger Health is expected to administer 250 tests per day.

Tennessee unemployment claims still high due to coronavirus

NASHVILLE (AP) — The number of Tennessee residents who filed new unemployment claims last week topped 43,700, bringing the total number of requests for benefits to more than 435,000 since businesses began closing in response to the new coronavirus outbreak.

The Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development on Thursday reported new jobless claims for the week ending April 25. The highest number of new claims, nearly 15,000, was reported in counties surrounding Davidson County, which includes Nashville, the department said in a news release. READ more

Mass Testing Strategy of State’s Prison Population and Staff

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Governor Bill Lee’s Unified Command Group (UCG) today announced a mass COVID-19 testing initiative will begin next week for all Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) staff and the inmates in their care.

“Knowing the extent of the virus’s spread within our correctional facilities is critical as incarcerated individuals remain one of the most vulnerable populations during this pandemic,” said Lee. “Thanks to our increased capacity, we’ll test all inmates and staff statewide in order to take appropriate actions to safeguard the health of these vulnerable individuals.”

TDOC on Friday confirmed more than 1,246 COVID-19 positive cases, out of 2,450 total tests, among staff and inmates at the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center in Trousdale County, following a targeted testing event at the facility that began on April 28.

“We’ve been in close coordination with TDOC as it began targeted COVID-19 testing of inmates and staff in early April,” said UCG Director Stuart McWhorter.

“Given the increases in positive cases at the Bledsoe County and Trousdale Turner correctional facilities, despite the vast majority being asymptomatic, we are going to take the next steps in partnership with TDOC, Tennessee Department of Health (TDH), and Tennessee National Guard to support a broader testing strategy to promote the health and safety of staff and inmates. We will also coordinate plans with our local jails to assist them in safeguarding the health of their populations in the coming days.”

TDOC and TDH analysis of the test results confirm 98 percent of those who tested positive are asymptomatic.

TDOC is now working with its healthcare services provider and contract prison provider, Centurion Managed Care and CoreCivic, to begin COVID-19 testing next week of all staff and inmates at 10 other TDOC correctional facilities in the state.

While CoreCivic will be responsible for testing all inmates and staff in its managed facilities, UCG will coordinate with the Tennessee National Guard to augment testing capacity for staff at state-run facilities, where Centurion will be testing only inmates.