UofL Health sets up first drive-thru coronavirus testing center in Kentucky, state politicians preach ‘social distancing’

Cassady Lamb

University of Louisville Health opened Kentucky’s first drive-thru coronavirus testing center on Thursday. 

So far the testing site, located in downtown Louisville, has tested dozens of people who think they may have contracted COVID-19, according to WLKY.

The increase in demand for testing centers and the shortage of laboratory staff in the US has been pointed out by many political leaders including Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear.

Beshear declared a state of emergency on March 6, meaning all levels of Kentucky government can leap into action to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and provide assistance to those who are being affected by the virus.

UofL Health is only accepting current patients of theirs to proceed with testing after a physician’s recommendation.

The testing center is prioritizing two main groups:

  • Healthcare workers on the front line of the novel coronavirus
  • Individuals fitting into the high-risk for severe illness category created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

There are four main categories that may conclude that an individual is at high-risk of having complications due to a severe illness:

  • People who are 65 years or older
  • People that are HIV+
  • People with asthma or other respiratory conditions
  • Women who are currently pregnant

Read more about individuals who may be at high-risk for COVID-19 here.

The lab at UofL can currently process 170 tests a day, according to WAVE3. The lab will soon be able to process up to 340 tests a day.

Jefferson County’s drive-thru testing center announcement comes days after the news of Indiana counties beginning drive-thru testing. These counties include Floyd County, right across the bridge from Jefferson County, and Marion County, home of Indianapolis and currently the most infected county in the state of Indiana.

Jefferson County is currently the most affected county in Kentucky. 248 cases have been reported in Kentucky as of Thursday, 60 of them being in Jefferson County, home of Louisville, Kentucky’s largest city.

On Thursday alone, 14 new cases were reported in Jefferson County, Beshear said in his daily press briefing.

Both Beshear and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer are aiming to protect the public from the novel coronavirus, and they are taking this fight to social media.

Fischer, whose wife tested positive for COVID-19 on March 19, has been very active on Twitter, offering mental help and advice to those living in Louisville and in the state of Kentucky.

In regards to the doubling of cases in the city, Fischer said this is something the city has been preparing for, and as testing increases throughout the city, more positive cases will be found.

“We still have reports of people of all ages acting like this isn’t a crisis. COVID-19 is a deadly contagious disease that spreads easily,” Fischer said in a Twitter thread Thursday afternoon, the same day the highest number of cases was reported in Louisville. “Anything where you’re within 6 [feet] of others, you’re risking the lives and health of others. It’s selfish, short-sighted and unacceptable.”

News reporter Cassady Lamb can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @lambp0p.