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Natchez mayor still awaiting results of COVID-19 test

NATCHEZ — Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell said Thursday he is still awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test his doctor submitted on Monday.

“They told me four days, and I was hoping I would have heard back by now,” Grennell said, adding that regardless of the results of the test he will continue to be self-quarantined because he also tested positive for the flu on Monday.

Grennell said he did not know whether his doctor submitted the test to the Mississippi State Department of Health Laboratory or to a private testing company such as LabCorp.

“Doctors have the prerogative whether they send it to us or to another lab,” said Tammy Yates, a communications specialist with the MSDH.

Test results sent to MSDH are done in house, said Daphne Ware, MSDH public health laboratory director in a video posted last week on the MSDH website.

“Right now with our 24-hour turnaround time, we have met that with every sample that we are testing,” Ware said in the video.

No positive cases have been reported in Adams County as of Thursday afternoon.

Merit Health Natchez on Thursday could not provide a number of cases that have been tested for COVID-19 at their facility so far, but offered the following statement: “The physician determines a patient meets the risk criteria. We have, and will continue to screen and test patients as deemed medically necessary. National experts believe most communities will have identified COVID-19 cases at some point, and we at Merit Health Natchez are prepared. The health department remains the best source of information for tracking local cases and getting results back from them.”

MSDH on Thursday was not able to provide a number of cases tested so far for COVID-19 in Adams County.

However, MSDH provides the number of tested cases statewide in its daily updates on COVID-19. Thursday afternoon the number of cases tested statewide stood at 602 with 50 positive results and one death in Mississippi. Those numbers include testing by the MSDH Public Health Laboratory and private laboratories.

Grennell urged residents to remain vigilant.

“When you look at the numbers, they are moving exponentially,” Grennell said. “When I went to bed last night (Wednesday night) we had 31 cases and it went up to 50 over night. They are growing significantly. This is a serious disease.”