MEMPHIS, Tenn. — In Memphis and across the Mid-South, there's good news, as more COVID-19 test are becoming available in more places.
In Shelby County, the health department is hopeful to nearly double the weekly testing capacity soon.
Health experts said the sooner more widespread testing is done, the COVID-19 situation locally will be clearer, which would be key to help reopen the economy.
"Go get tested. There's no reason for you to be walking around and give it to someone else," Tanya McGhee said.
McGhee did last month at this drive-thru testing site in east Memphis, fearful she didn't have pneumonia or bronchitis - but COVID-19.
"So quick and easy," McGhee said. "It was probably one the easiest things I've had done, but most important thing I've had done too."
McGhee is one of nearly 21,000 people in Shelby County tested to date, and one of the nearly 19,000 people whose results came back negative.
"I was relieved!" McGhee said.
Shelby County health experts hope to expand testing between 3700 a week to 6600 to 7000 a week in the next month.
"We now have ample supply of lab testing in both the UTHSC effort and local labs, so now the real barrier is having physical locations and people there to do the swab," UTHSC Dean of Clinical Affairs Dr. Jon McCullers said.
Beyond larger scale, by appointment drive-thru testing such as Tiger Lane in Memphis, other smaller events are happening in the days ahead.
Thursday and Friday, there's testing by appointment at the Frayser Kroger on 3306 Overton Crossing (www.krogerhealth.com/covidtesting for more information), and by appointment starting Friday at the Walgreens at 3502 Summer Avenue (Walgreens.com/coronavirus for more information).
Also, between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday at the Christ Community Health Services location in Frayser, free testing will be available to those with or without COVID-19 symptoms and an appointment isn't required. Cov. Bill Lee is planning to visit the site as part of his efforts to test more people across Tennessee.
"We've made a lot of progress getting out in underserved communities and now it's just a matter of expanding those efforts and bring them to other areas," Dr. McCullers said.
Dr. McCullers also said Thursday plans are also in the works to set up additional testing sites in Bartlett and at the Agricenter in the weeks ahead.