National Guard successfully administers COVID-19 testing at CHA locations


CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF)- Governor Bill Lee’s Unified Command Group and the Chattanooga Housing Authority conducted free Coronavirus testing to residents at two Housing Authority locations today.

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Last week, free coronavirus testing for the Chattanooga housing authority was postponed because of fear from the National Guard.

Councilman Erskine Oglesby with District 7, says, “I know historically, when the national guard has entered in communities of color, it has not been for the best reasons. But, in this case, they’re here solely to test the population to make sure that they have the access and the testing to make sure that they can move forward.”

Residents of Emma Wheeler Homes and East Lake Courts were able to walk up to get a nasal swab.

Pamela Langston, a resident at East Lake Courts, says, “Well, it’s a lot if people that can’t walk that good.They’re in wheelchairs or, they’re on crutches, walkers, canes. They can’t get around that good so this little distance, if they can walk this far, it’ll help them and they can come up here and get this done.”

This is the fourth testing event that the Tennessee Department of Health has done at a housing authorities in a major Tennessee city.

Master Sgt. John Waderker with the National Guard, says, “Ya know, one thing that’s different than a lot of other states, we’re not waiting for someone to have symptoms before we test. We test everybody because 98 percent of the people are asymptomatic.”

“In housing developments where people are in close confines, that’s where we’ve seen it in the past that this virus has spread”, says Master Sergeant Waderker.

To get tested, all residents needed was identification and a phone number.

The Chattanooga Housing Authority will be hosting testing tomorrow from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the James A. Henry School. They will also have a drive thru location at Greenwood Terrace apartments from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.