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Mass COVID-19 testing site opens at Churchill Downs

People wait in their vehicles for drive-up COVID testing in the parking lot of Churchill Downs, 1/10/22
People wait in their vehicles for drive-up COVID testing in the parking lot of Churchill Downs, 1/10/22

COVID-19 testing in Louisville has expanded, with a new mass testing site now open at Churchill Downs. 

The site – a partnership between Louisville Metro, Bluewater Testing Laboratories and track owners – opened Monday and will be open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. There is not yet a date the site is slated to close, Bluewater said last week. 

Through six lanes, they’ll be able to test up to 5,000 people per day, mostly using PCR tests. Due to local and worldwide shortages, only Metro government employees and K-12 students will be able to get the rapid tests. 

Dina English, with Bluewater, said there were already many people waiting when they arrived to start setting up the site. 

“We got here and at 7 o‘clock this morning there were over 150 cars in line already, before we could even plug in our electricity,” she said during a news conference Monday morning. 

The testing expansion comes in response to a surge in new positive cases over recent weeks, which has driven the demand for tests. 

On Monday, the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness reported a new record weekly high with over 16,000 COVID-19 cases identified over the past week in Jefferson County. 

The incidence rate has skyrocketed to 303 cases per 100,000 residents; it was 189 a week ago. A rate of 25 and higher is considered “red” in terms of spread by the Kentucky Department for Public Health. Jefferson County has been in the red for several months. 

“If we have learned anything, it is to stay humble to this virus,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said. “We want to be done with it but clearly it is not done with us. It continues to infect more and more people causing serious damage…obviously up to death in the worst cases.”

Appointments for the Churchill Downs site must be made in advance. Click here to schedule an appointment.

Correction: A previous version of this story had an incorrect name for the Kentucky Department for Public Health.

Aprile Rickert is LPM's Southern Indiana reporter. Email Aprile at arickert@lpm.org.

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