Community Pathology Lab brings faster COVID testing, weekend testing to UC

Support from Tennessee Rural Development Fund played a vital role

COOKEVILLE — Community Pathology Laboratory announced that it is now able to process COVID tests locally, thus delivering much faster results. 

The laboratory is currently offering this service in-house, as well as at Cookeville Regional Medical Center and other area hospitals, doctors’ offices and nursing homes. While these facilities previously had to send tests to reference laboratories in Nashville and Memphis, resulting in a two- to five-day turnaround time for results, processing them locally ensures a turnaround time of less than 24 hours. 

“We are pleased to bring high-complexity, high-throughput RT-PCR testing technology — the gold standard for COVID diagnosis — to the Upper Cumberland,” said Dr. Meiklejohn McKenzie, laboratory director and co-owner at Community Pathology Laboratory. “This will result in decreased turnaround time, which will allow affected individuals to isolate more quickly and help reduce the spread of the virus.” 

Community Pathology Laboratory is now the only laboratory between Nashville and Knoxville doing this type of testing for COVID. The lab can currently process several hundred specimens per day and will soon be introducing robotic automation to its COVID testing process, which will further increase testing capacity. Also, the lab has now begun offering weekend testing at their office, located at 115 N. Peachtree Ave. in Cookeville, so that area residents don’t have to go to the emergency room for COVID testing on weekends.

The local laboratory was able to begin offering these services thanks to funding from the Tennessee Rural Development Fund (TNRDF).

“From an operational and business standpoint, we would have struggled to be able to offer this kind of service on our own,” said Dr. Jason Nolan, a co-owner at Community Pathology Laboratory. “We’re very grateful for the assistance TNRDF provided in the form of a large, low-interest loan. That made it a no-brainer as to whether it was time for us to do this.”  

“At TNRDF, our mission and our passion is to help our community by helping small businesses grow, and vice versa,” said TNRDF President David Allen. “This project achieves both goals in a very vital way by helping to provide a crucial service to the Upper Cumberland during the COVID pandemic, so we were more than happy to help.”

Community Pathology Laboratory is a full-service laboratory located in Cookeville, that provides a full range of anatomic pathology services to hospitals, surgery centers and physician offices throughout central and east Tennessee as well as southern Kentucky. For more information, visit

Tennessee Rural Development Fund (TNRDF) was founded to provide affordable capital to spur business growth and expansion in the rural and economically distressed counties of Tennessee. The organization does this by providing affordable capital and creative financial structures and by leveraging private investment into low-income communities. For more information, visit

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