Are two COVID-19 community assessment centers enough for Nashville?

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — An East Nashville business owner said she had a tough time finding a free COVID-19 rapid test on Sunday.

Allison Holley, owner of Apple & Oak, said she dropped hundreds of dollars on a test just to make sure that her symptoms were not from the Delta variant.

“I mean I need it because I work, I own my own business, and I work in the shop with other people. And I’m not going to go in there when I don’t know if I have a positive test or not,” Holley said. “I had to get an independent person to test me, and it was $250.”

Holley said she grew frustrated searching for options on a weekend that had available appointments. And not everyone may have the patience or the cash to dish out for a COVID test.

“And not everyone should be expected to do that,” Holley said. “It feels like they’re pushing it off onto other businesses like Walgreens and CVS and Walmart. Like if they’re offering it the city doesn’t need to. But that isn’t convenient for everybody.”

Right now, the city has one constant community assessment center at the old Kmart on Murfreesboro Pike. But another site on 28th Avenue North is being set up by the Nashville Office of Emergency Management to help with the growing demand.

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“It seems like we already know what to do, let’s just do it,” Holley said. “The virus doesn’t care about the weather or the weekend.”

Other pop-up locations are listed on the Nashville Health Department’s website and social media pages. But Holley questions if the testing sites are enough to protect the community from the increasingly present Delta variant.

The Nashville OEM team said this is currently the only additional location being considered as they monitor the cases across the city. The hope is people will get vaccinated.

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As of now the Murfreesboro Pike location, according to OEM, has about a 45-minute average wait time with a 48 hour turnaround for results.

Holley said it’s a positive step in the right direction to open a second center.

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