Mayor Linda Gorton said free drive-up testing facilities that will open in Lexington in the next few days will help move the city closer to ending stay-at-home restrictions.
Governor Andy Beshear announced Wednesday that two drive-up testing sites will be available in Lexington. It is part of a statewide effort.
“The numbers already show our City has done a great job at following social distancing recommendations, and I greatly appreciate everyone’s cooperation,” Gorton said. “Even so, widespread testing is the only the way we can find out who actually has the disease. With COVID-19, sometimes there are no symptoms, or it feels like a normal spring allergy attack. Victims continue to infect others because they do not know they have the virus. Although this is still not the widespread testing we need, it is a step in the right direction.”
Dr. Kraig Humbaugh, Commissioner of Health, said, “Broadening the availability of testing will help to identify people with COVID-19 infection who have a milder illness. However, it may also add to the number of confirmed cases in Lexington because more tests are being conducted. As we approach the potential easing of some restrictions on businesses, continued access to testing will be increasingly important.”
Starting Monday, drive-up testing will be available by appointment on the Bluegrass Community and Technical College campus on Newtown Pike and at the Walgreen’s at 2296 Executive Drive (the corner of Winchester Road and Executive Drive). People must come to either site in a vehicle.
Testing at BCTC, done through Kroger, begins Monday, April 27. The free testing will be available from 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, for two weeks. It is open to the general public. Register for a time slot at www.krogerhealth.com.
Beginning this Friday, April 24, testing will be available at the Walgreens on Executive Drive from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., seven days a week. Tests will continue for approximately two weeks, or until they run out of test kits (testing approximately 200 per day). Registration begins tomorrow online at walgreens.com/coronavirus. The Walgreen tests will be available for anyone over age 18 who is showing symptoms, and any healthcare worker or first responders.
Gorton said it is particularly important for testing to be available near African-American neighborhoods. “African Americans have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 in Lexington and throughout our nation,” Gorton said. “We asked Governor Beshear to help us begin to address that, and that’s why we have one of our first free testing facilities at BCTC.”
Lexington examined local numbers after national news outlets began reporting that African-Americans are overrepresented among COVID-19 cases. The Health Department and Mayor’s Office representatives have been meeting with representatives of the African-American community to look for ways to address the issue here. Gorton will meet with them this afternoon.
Gorton was joined in today’s news conference by Rev. Dr. Keith Tyler Sr., Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, Rev. Dr. Joseph L. Owens, Shiloh Baptist Church, and P.G. Peeples, President / CEO of the Urban League of Lexington-Fayette County. State Senator Reggie Thomas and State Representative George Brown also attended the news conference.