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Ready for testing: One-day, drive-thru COVID-19 testing site set up at safe room

NATCHEZ — The University of Mississippi Medical Center and the Mississippi State Department of Health will set up a one-day drive-thru testing center for the COVID-19 virus at the Adams County Safe Room at 323 Liberty Road starting at 9 a.m. Thursday.

UMMC officials said all testing would be done only for those who are symptomatic of COVID-19 and by appointment only through the C Spire Health UMMC Virtual COVID-19 Triage smartphone app or by calling 601-496-7200.

Same day appointments are possible. However, a limited number of specimens can be collected for COVID-19 testing at each testing site.

Other free UMMC and MSDH collection sites will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 4, at Pearl River County Health Department, 7547 Highway 11 North in Carriere and Monday, April 6, at Tippah County Coliseum, 10791 B Highway 15 South in Ripley.

Each person who feels they might need testing for the virus must first complete a free health screening with a medical provider, either through the C Spire Health app or by calling the number above. Screening is open daily between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

They’ll be asked questions about symptoms, including fever, cough, shortness of breath or sore throat. Appointments will only be given to people who are symptomatic for COVID-19 and are determined to need testing by a medical provider through the screening process. Anyone not experiencing symptoms is asked not to use the app or call.

Those who are determined to have a high-risk level for COVID-19 will be provided an appointment at the testing site closest to them where they would give a specimen sample via a nose swab without exiting their vehicle.

Healthcare providers wearing protective gear will come to the vehicle window to collect specimens for testing at the MSDH Public Health Lab. UMMC will later notify those tested of the results and give further instructions.

Anyone determined to be at low risk for infection will receive instructions on social distancing, home isolation and self-care and will be told to call back if symptoms worsen.

Since Friday, more than 200 Mississippians took advantage of free mobile COVID-19 testing sites offered by UMMC and MSDH in Olive Branch, Clarksdale, Vicksburg and Greenwood.

Drive-through specimen collection using this same process also is continuing daily at the Mississippi State Fairgrounds in Jackson.