IRS lot open for drive-thru COVID-19 testing


The former IRS parking lot on the west side of Johnson Street has been transformed into a drive-thru, by-appointment COVID-19 testing facility.

City lets feds use site beginning Monday; sign up online
COVINGTON, Ky. – A drive-thru COVID-19 testing facility is coming to Covington starting Monday, located in the massive parking lot owned by the City and formerly used by employees of the now-shuttered IRS complex.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced the site today and urged Kentuckians who visited anybody outside their immediate household over the holidays to get tested.
“Northern Kentucky has been hit really hard recently by this virus,” Beshear said. “This is a dangerous time.”
Hours for the testing operation are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., beginning Monday. It’s free, but it’s by appointment only. To register, go to an online portal – -- that is open now.
Tents and tables have been erected on the site, which the City is making available to the federal government free of charge “as long as it’s needed,” Covington City Manager David Johnston said.
“We were approached by the Kentucky Department of Homeland Security asking for ideas on locations, and we immediately zeroed in on this site,” Johnston said. “In the spirit of good, intergovernmental cooperation and to benefit public safety and the health of our citizens, we immediately worked out an agreement.”
The address for the 3-acre lot is 302 W. Fourth St., but drivers must access it off Johnson Street between Fourth and Third streets. Once you arrive, follow instructions on signage or given by on-site personnel. (Note that after receiving an appointment, it is important to print and bring the test voucher on the day of your test.)
The lot is part of the 23-acre IRS complex the City bought last year amid plans for a massive, game-changing multi-use development. Johnston said its size, setup and location make it perfect for a temporary drive-thru testing site for a number of reasons: It’s large, it’s surrounded by fencing with access controlled through gates, and it’s in the northern part of Covington, which makes it much closer to more low- and moderate-income citizens than other testing sites previously located in Northern Kentucky.  
Johnston said the Kentucky National Guard is in charge of the site for the time being.
Beshear called the new Covington site a product of “federal surge testing” needed to get a hold on skyrocketing COVID-19 rates nationwide.
Some 360,000 people have died of COVID-19 complications in the United States since March, including almost 3,000 people in Kentucky.
While Kentucky currently ranks 29th among states in cases per capita and 41st in new deaths (since Dec. 26), it suffers from an alarming and increasing positivity rate that is now 19th highest in the country, the governor said. Kentucky has announced over 15,000 new cases in the last three days alone.
“The portal is open now, people can sign up, we want to make sure it is full beginning on Monday and that we take advantage of this real help that we are grateful for from the federal government,” Beshear said.

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