Lots of people take advantage of free COVID-19 tests in Hawkins County on Saturday | WJHL

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HAWKINS COUNTY, Tennessee (WJHL) – The Tennessee Department of Health is conducting mass screening for anyone wishing to be tested for coronavirus.

This is the first time after Governor Bill Lee said on Wednesday that all Tennessians should be able to get free COVID-19 tests.

On Saturday, the first free COVID-19 test in the northeast region of Tennessee was held in Hawkins County.

The Tennessee Department of Health expected large numbers, and they were right.

Crowds of people lined up around the volunteer high school to take advantage of the free tests.

“We didn’t expect people to line up early, as early as 6 am, but we appreciate it,” said Rebekah English, northeast regional director for the Tennessee Department of Health.

On Saturday morning, the first person in line was Samuel Clark, who is a resident of Church Hill and made the decision to get tested because he says he needs to take care of his family.

“Being in the senior category, we can’t take any chances,” said Clark. “I am the only family member who can get food, everything we need to survive, and I hope everyone does the same. “

For these driving test sites, you don’t need to get out of your car.

They will take a nasal swab while visitors stay in their vehicles, and anyone interested in testing will not have to be in the area to receive a free test.

“You will be greeted by a public health nurse or the National Guard and go through the stages of the test,” said English.

Results will be available as early as 72 hours, but may take around a week to return.

“If they’re concerned about their health, we really want to get them tested,” said English. “We hope we have a large number here at the volunteer high school. “

This is the first time in Tennessee that tests are available even if you don’t have traditional symptoms.

“I would advise everyone to get checked, get tested and make sure you’re not positive for this thing,” said Clark. “This is nothing to laugh about. “

There are other locations that will open on Sunday, such as East Tennessee State University, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

MORE: Complete list of free test sites in Tennessee

If you miss any of these driving test sites, any Tennessee health department offers free tests Monday through Friday in their offices.

Click here for more coverage of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

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