Memphis officials look to establish COVID-19 Pool Testing

Watch: Memphis officials look to establish COVID-19 Pool Testing

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis is seeing a downward trend in confirmed cases of COVID-19 but Mayor Jim Strickland said the city wanted to ramp up testing to make sure schools and public places are safe.

It’s through a process called Pool Testing.

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“The pooling measure combines multiple patient samples and runs a test on all of those samples together. This means you can test more for less cost,” said Strickland.

The goal was to test thousands of people at one time.

The city created a testing committee to explore how Memphis can move forward with making it happen.

Strickland said the two-million-dollar pilot program is expanding to include students and teachers in at least two schools.

“We have the capacity to test up to 4,000 students and teachers per day and that number will hopefully grow over time,” said Strickland.

The city was approved for pool testing but they’ve sent another request to the FDA for an expansion of more patients to be tested at one time.

Shelby County reported 24,347 cases and averaged 247 new cases daily in the past week.

“We are one of the one of the most heavily tested counties in the united states. If Shelby County were a state, then we would still be in the top 10 nationally for the proportion of our population that has been tested for COVID-19,” said David Sweat, the Chief of Epidemiology at the Shelby County Health Department.

Strickland said since the pool testing was funded by the city, it would be limited to schools within city limits and only for asymptomatic people.

He said he would like to build a program for this to be duplicated throughout the county for the general public.