You will soon see some changes when you go to the Cheatham County Health Department for free COVID-19 testing. Starting on Monday, December 21, Tennessee Department of Health COVID-19 testing sites across the state, including Cheatham County, will be making changes to their testing schedules to allow health care staff to transition to the vaccination of frontline health care workers and first responders.
The Cheatham County Health Department will begin offering self-testing kits to adults three days a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Adults who complete the self-tests must stay in their vehicles while collecting their samples, and while filling out their paperwork and registering to receive their results online. Health departments will submit the samples for testing. Results are typically ready within about 72 hours of arrival at the lab, depending on the volume of tests the testing lab receives.
State officials said the self-tests are not for use in children under age 18. Children and adults who are unable to register online can still receive the standard nasal swab tests on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
“We’re making this transition so our Department of Health staff can assist with administration of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines,” said Tennessee Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey, M.D., M.B.A., F.A.A.P. “State-run health departments currently collect an average of only 16% of all COVID-19 tests statewide, and our change will not affect the wide availability of testing through private providers in Tennessee. While the arrival of vaccines is welcome, it is imperative that we not let up on basic best practices and continue to protect each other by wearing masks, practicing social distancing and staying home when sick.”
The state’s COVID-19 vaccination plan, which remains fluid as the vaccines are received in Tennessee, shows the first phase of vaccines going to workers treating COVID-19 patients, emergency responders who deal directly with the public, home care staff, student health providers, staff and residents at long term health care facilities, and COVID-19 mass site testing staff. The state health department is working with local emergency management agencies and other county departments to notify these groups about when they will be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, according to Shelley Walker, Director of the Office of Communications and Media Relations, Tennessee Department of Health.
TDH county health departments, including Cheatham County, will be closed and will not offer testing Dec. 24 -25 and Dec. 31, 2020 – Jan. 1, 2021 due to the Christmas and New Year’s holiday observances.
Outside of those days, Cheatham County Health Department hours are 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. Monday – Friday. For more information about TDH COVID-19 testing sites, go to: https://www.tn.gov/content/tn/health/cedep/ncov/remote-assessment-sites.html.