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Public encouraged to take advantage of free COVID-19 testing
Press conference - Pat Williams.jpg

There were 284 people who received free COVID-19 testing during a one-week period at the Warren County Health Department.

“We’re offering drive-thru testing so it’s very convenient,” said Pat Williams, a nursing supervisor at the Health Department. “You remain in your car the whole time.”

Williams made her comments Tuesday during the county’s weekly coronavirus press conference. In an effort to get everyone in the community tested, regardless of whether any symptoms are present, a special drive-thru coronavirus testing site will be set up this Sunday, May 3, at the Farmers Market from 1 to 4 p.m.

This site is in addition to regular drive-thru testing Monday thru Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Health Department.

McMinnville Mayor Ben Newman said caution should not be disregarded just because some restrictions have been lifted and restaurant dining rooms have been allowed to reopen.

“Gov. Lee announced our state is in the process of reopening,” said Newman. “That doesn’t mean everything just automatically goes back to normal.”

Newman also emphasized that utility bills are not going to disappear because companies have provided a grace period for payment and are not disconnecting service as this time.

“Bills will not be forgiven,” said Newman.

UCHRA representative Carrie Baker talked about services her organization provides such as assistance with electric bills and programs to help with rent. She also talked about UCHRA transportation programs which remain active.

“Our numbers are down, but we hope everyone continues to ride,” said Baker referring to public bus routes which operate Monday thru Saturday.

Dr. John Beuerlein of Saint Thomas Health reported Saint Thomas River Park Hospital has an adequate supply of personal protective equipment, ventilators, and available beds. He revealed a special area of the Saint Thomas hospital in DeKalb County has been devoted to treating COVID-19 patients from a nursing home in Gallatin.

Dr. Beuerlein said River Park may get to the point of testing all patients for COVID-19 but said, “We’re currently not there yet.”

County Executive Jimmy Haley said people should continue to act in a safe manner to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“As county executive, I urge all residents and businesses to take every measure to protect themselves and their employees,” said Haley. “Use personal distancing, masks and personal hygiene measures as outlined by the CDC and our Health Department. Through this, we can restore the vitality of our community, but the crisis is not over.”