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Free COVID-19 testing draws crowds
COVID-19 testing in Manchester.jpg
Vehicles head down the home stretch in Manchester on Sunday at a drive thru COVID-19 testing site. More drive thru sites are scheduled throughout the state this weekend. Locations have not been announced.

More than 11,000 Tennesseans received free COVID-19 tests over the weekend at drive-thru testing sites, including 164 in Spencer on Saturday and 515 in Manchester on Sunday.

Statewide totals show 6,595 people were tested Saturday and 4,635 were tested Sunday for a combined 11,230 people.

There were 19 sites in operation, four more than originally planned, to meet testing demand. Drive-thru testing will continue for the next two weekends, April 25-26 and May 2-3. Testing sites for those dates have not been released by the state.

Last weekend, many Tennesseans drove outside their county of residence to obtain a test from a neighboring county that operated a weekend site.

Bill Zechman is a Warren County resident who drove to Manchester to get tested Sunday. He reports the line was lengthy and his wait was 1 hour and 50 minutes to get tested.

Zechman was given the test up his nose by a person in a hazmat suit.

“It’s slightly uncomfortable but it doesn’t last long,” said Zechman, who indicated he’s not experiencing any symptoms but got tested at the request of health officials.

“I see this as a major scientific project,” said Zechman. “They want to know how many asymptomatic carriers are out there.”

Zechman was told he would receive his test results in the mail in about a week.

In Tennessee, there are 7,394 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 108,182 people tested, according to the Tennessee Department of Health on Tuesday. There have been 157 deaths.

In addition to drive-thru sites, all rural county health departments across the state offer free COVID-19 testing five days a week. This includes Warren County Health Department on Sparta Street.