Gov. Andy Beshear announced that one of the state’s four new drive-through COVID-19 testing sites will open in Pikeville next week as the state works to expand testing.

“We know that we need to have more testing in Kentucky, both right now as we’re dealing with our surge and also as we want to eventually step out of this, it’s going to take significant amounts of testing and then contact tracing,” Beshear said.

Beshear said during Thursday’s novel coronavirus (COVID-19) briefing that the state’s four new drive-through testing sites will open in Madisonville, Paducah, Somerset and Pikeville. The testing sites will operate from 8:30-5:30 p.m. next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in order to expand testing for patients who fit the criteria for having the virus. The location of the site in Pikeville was confirmed by Pike Emergency Management Director Doug Tackett to be Shelby Valley High School.

“Our goal is to do 1,000 tests over those three days in each of these communities, and in every city where there is a testing site, it is going to be open to all the contiguous counties or even the region in Kentucky,” Beshear said. “We want to make sure that we push people to sign up and continue to sign up as we end here today.”

Beshear said the state aims to expand testing throughout the state in order to provide access for people to get tested for COVID-19. At the drive-through testing sites, labs are able to retrieve the test results within 48 hours, Beshear said. The expansion of testing is part of the goal of the state’s partnership with Kroger Health, the healthcare arm of The Kroger Company. Kroger Health, under that partnership, already opened two drive-through testing sites in Kenton County and in Frankfort. Beshear said that, on Thursday, 208 people were tested at the Frankfort site and 227 people were tested at the Kenton County site.

Megan Brown, National Health and Wellness TLC Director of Kroger Health and The Little Clinic, spoke during the briefing about the new testing sites. At these new sites, Kroger Health expects to test up to about 330 patients every day at each location, while following all guidelines provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We did work with the state to choose these locations to better support our community and to help people live healthier lives,” Brown said. “The drive-through testing locations will feature a self-administered nasal swab that must be ordered and observed by a provider so we will have nurse practitioners on-site at each location. Kroger has determined that this testing methodology is beneficial as it increases the number of tests that can be performed, as well as conserving the amount of personal protective equipment that is utilized.”

There are three priorities for drive-through testing qualifications. “Priority 1” includes hospitalized patients and healthcare facility workers with symptoms of the virus. “Priority 2” includes patients in long-term care facilities with symptoms, patients who are 65 years old and older with symptoms, patients with underlying conditions with symptoms and first responders with symptoms.

“Priority 3” includes critical infrastructure workers with symptoms, individuals who do not meet any of the previous categories with symptoms, healthcare facility workers and first responders and individuals with mild symptoms in communities experiencing high numbers of COVID-19 hospitalizations.

“I can’t tell you how important this and our next partnership have been for the state, and I want to thank Kroger for sticking with us,” Beshear said. “It’s been a long road to get here. They never gave up and neither did we. This is very helpful and it’s making sure that we are serving all parts of the state.”

For all information on testing qualifications, scheduling for the site and the site’s location information, visit, www.krogerhealth.com/covidtesting.

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