Officials with the McMinn County Health Department are distributing COVID-19 self tests at their location.

The Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) announced in a press release that health departments across the State of Tennessee would be distributing COVID-19 self test kits three days a week to relieve pressure off of the staff of the health departments and allow them adequate staff to distribute the COVID-19 vaccinations.

“Local county health departments will continue to offer COVID-19 testing five days a week at no charge for anyone who wishes to be tested,” the release stated.

The new self test will be offered to adults on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

“On these days, public health staff members at each TDH COVID-19 testing site will provide self-testing kits to adults who wish to be tested,” the press release continued. “Individuals will remain in their vehicles while completing paperwork and collecting their samples. Health department will submit the samples for testing.”

Those who use the self-test will register and receive results online.

According to the release, the self tests are not approved for people under the age of 18.

“Children and adults who are unable to register online can still receive the standard nose swab COVID-19 tests on Tuesdays and Thursdays,” the release noted.

According to Southeast Region Public Information Officer Amanda Goodhard, the self-test will still be helpful because they are still the PCR tests.

“It is the same tests that we do on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which is just like the same drive-thru testing that we have been doing for a while,” Goodhard said. “This just helps us free up some of our staff so that they can focus on vaccinations, which is really the main goal.”

She noted the department wanted to focus on being able to provide testing five days a week while still allowing the staff the availability to perform vaccinations.

“Those who wish to obtain a self-test kit will go to the health department and tell them that they wish to be tested, signs will give them directions upon their arrival,” Goodhard stated. “Someone will give you the kit, which will contain instructions on how to properly collect the sample, etc ... We offer this at the same times as the usual testing and we have personnel there to provide assistance.”

The signs will instruct people to call the health department for them to bring out a kit.

A smartphone is also recommended to register your kit and receive your test results.

“We would like to encourage people to come and get tested if they feel that they need it and to quarantine as much as you can until you get your results back,” Goodhard expressed. “Please continue to wear your mask, social distance, wash your hands ... those types of things will be what helps us get to the end of this pandemic.”

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