LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The highly infectious omicron variant is blamed in the COVID-19 surge across Kentuckiana. Now, Louisville officials are looking to increase mass testing access to residents.
Mayor Greg Fischer said in a Thursday press conference that Louisville has plenty of vaccines and booster shots available for residents.
He said now the focus is on testing, announcing a new partnership between the city and Bluewater Diagnostics to open a mass drive-through testing facility at Churchill Downs.
The site opened on Monday, Jan. 10 and will remain open to the public until it isn't needed. Tests are free of charge.
" Its very convenient the COVID tests are still out everywhere. So this is a much easier faster way," Jonny Rodriguez said.
"We got here at 7 o'clock this morning and we probably had over 150 cars in line already before we could even plug in our electricity." English said.
The location has a total of six lane with two of them dedicated to rapid testing for the city's employees and staff and K-12th grade students
According to Dina English with Bluewater Diagnostic Laboratories, rapid tests are reserved for the Metro employees and K-12 testing. So if you come to Churchill Downs and go through one of the four public lanes, you'll be getting a PCR test which typically takes 48 to 72 hours to get results.
The Churchill Downs testing location will be available every Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the orange parking lot.
Pre-registration is required, which can be done online.
"What we're trying to avoid here is our hospital system being overrun with patients," Fischer said. "That pushes the most serous health challenges out into the community, and the wait times for people to be serviced in the hospital would become unacceptable."
RELATED: Fact Sheet: COVID-19 omicron variant
Residents will need to bring a government issued ID (driver's license or passport) and their insurance card. If you don't have insurance, be prepared to give a Bluewater employee your social security number.
"I think its pretty amazing they should have thought of this long before now," Vania Jackson said, who waited in line for the test. "It wasn't hard. It was very simple to sign up and then this process here has been pretty quick. So its no problem at all. "
About 1,265 tests were given on Monday. Officials said an estimated average of 1,000 to 3,000 tests can be done daily at the new testing site with a total capacity of 5,000.
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