The Knox County Health Department (KCHD) will offer free COVID-19 testing to the public, including those who do not have symptoms. For testing on Friday, April 17, the public may call the KCHD Public Information Line at 865-215-5555 to schedule an appointment. Effective Monday, April 20, KCHD will no longer require appointments.


“This is the result of our ongoing efforts to expand testing as it is a critical tool in containing COVID-19,” said KCHD Senior Director and Public Health Officer Dr. Martha Buchanan. “We’re grateful to Knox County leadership that we can provide this opportunity to our community.”


Individuals should bring photo identification, if available. KCHD team members will collect nasal swab specimens and notify patients as soon as results are available. The timing of results is dependent upon the volume of samples received by the lab. While labs are working to increase turnaround time, results are typically available between three and five days. KCHD is utilizing a drive-through model for testing but has other options available if this model does not work for patients.


All those tested will need to self-isolate at least until results are available, longer if the test is positive. When KCHD notifies a patient of their results, KCHD team members will provide guidance to the patient on next steps. In addition to offering free testing Monday through Friday, KCHD is also exploring testing events in different communities to further expand access to testing.


Those concerned about their health are encouraged to call their primary care provider. If their primary care provider is not testing for COVID-19 or if someone does not have a primary care provider, they are encouraged to get tested through KCHD. Those experiencing emergency medical situations, including difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion or inability to arouse, or bluish lips or face, are urged to seek immediate medical attention.


COVID-19 common symptoms include fever and respiratory symptoms, such as coughing and shortness of breath. In addition, some patients report tiredness, aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, loss of smell or taste, sore throat, or diarrhea. Some people become infected but do not develop symptoms. The majority of people recover from the disease without needing special treatment.


KCHD’s information line number is 865-215-5555 or toll-free at 888-288-6022. It’s open from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 pm., Saturday and Sunday. Additional information about COVID-19, including Knox County’s current case count, local data, and what everyone can do to protect themselves, can be found on KCHD websiteThe CDC website is also a resource for the public.