Free COVID19 Drive-Thru Tests Hit Nashville
Photo: Vincent Ghiglione
APRIL 10, 2020 by Melanie Shelley
Updated MAY 17, 2020
A shipment of Abbott Labs testing machines - that can detect coronavirus in five minutes - has made it's way the state's public health laboratory in East Nashville. But it may be a while before one can be put to use.
Abbott Labs received emergency-use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the fastest available molecular point-of-care test for the detection of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), delivering positive results in as little as five minutes and negative results in 13 minutes. However, as quickly as they were approved, the FDA pulled authorization, due to low accuracy of negative result reporting.
Abbott's ID NOW™ COVID19 testing platform: 6.6 lbs, the size of a small toaster. Photo: Abbott Labs
Lisa Piercey, Tennessee State Health Commissioner, confirmed the machines arrived in Nashville on Tuesday, April 7th. Concurrently, Walgreens announced it would be offering drive-thru tests by Friday, April 10, at locations in middle Tennessee. However, no Walgreen's testing sites have been confirmed as of this update. There is no information regarding new location sites on Walgreens.com.
In a Walgreen's news release, they announced plans to be able to test up to 3,000 people per day across all of their sites. Due to the delays in FDA approval for the Abbott machines, it is unclear how many sites there will be in Nashville, and how many individual tests they will be able to administer per site, per day. Patients will need to pre-register for testing at Walgreens.com and on the Walgreens app. Walgreen's representatives have not responded to our repeated requests for comment.
Currently, Davidson County is offering "assessment" and drive-through testing sites, where you can present your symptoms and be advised by a medical professional whether you should receive a coronavirus test, or return home with care instructions. You are strongly advised to call ahead to these sites and make an appointment.
Check here for updates.
Interactive map of Nashville COVID19 Assessment & Drive-Through Testing Sites - TN DEPT OF HEALTH