Campus News

State, UK and UK HealthCare to Begin Free Community COVID-19 Testing

photo of person holding swab for COVID-19 testing
Pete Comparoni | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 17, 2020) — The ​Commonwealth of Kentucky's Department for Public Health is partnering with the University of Kentucky and UK HealthCare ​to begin free drive-up COVID-19 testing for the community at two sites beginning Aug. 24, UK officials said Monday.

“Kentucky remains at war with the coronavirus, and a robust testing program is essential to protecting one another, fully reopening our economy and getting all of our children back in classrooms,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “I want to thank the University of Kentucky and UK HealthCare for stepping up with this partnership to provide the community with this free public health resource. Everyone should take advantage of these testing opportunities and be part of Team Kentucky’s push to defeat COVID-19.”

​The university will place two testing sites on campus locations, said UK Police Chief Joe Monroe, who is overseeing the logistics and implementation of testing. To facilitate the testing, UK will continue its partnership with Wild Health, a Lexington-based company currently conducting COVID-19 testing for university students and employees.

One site for community testing will be in a new parking lot on College Way near the UK motor pool on the far southern edge of campus, Monroe said. The other site will be on the grounds of Eastern State Hospital, which UK operates and manages for the state. The hospital is located off of Newtown Pike near the I-64/75 interstate exchange. Eastern State is located at UK’s Coldstream Research Campus.

UK is conducting the testing in partnership with the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services. All testing will be available by scheduling an appointment. To receive a free COVID-19 test, an individual can register at: Testing will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week.

“Our role as Kentucky’s flagship, land-grant university is to serve our Commonwealth,” Monroe said. “Where there is a need and a gap to fill, we want to do our part. That’s what the community testing initiative is all about — serving our state during a time of unprecedented need.”

UK has required testing for all students who plan to be on campus this fall and has offered testing to employees who plan to be on university grounds. Testing at five sites on campus started Aug. 3. Undergraduate classes began Aug. 17. To learn more about UK’s restart plans, go to

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.