Free one-day only COVID-19 testing available for DeSoto County residents Friday

Free one-day only COVID-19 testing available for DeSoto County residents Friday

MEMPHIS, Miss. (WMC) - Desoto County is considered a hot spot for confirmed coronavirus cases in Mississippi. There are more than 45 confirmed cases in the county, which is more than anywhere else in the state.

The Mississippi State Department of Health and the University of Mississippi Medical Center are opening a mobile COVID-19 testing site in DeSoto County for one day only Friday.

Testing is free of charge.

Thursday, the National Guard and Mississippi State Department of Health began setting up to convert the parking lot of Lewisburg High School in Olive Branch into a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site.

But before you show up, organizers say you need an appointment.

Anyone experiencing coronavirus-related symptoms who feels they should be tested must first go through a screening with a UMMC clinician.

To get screened, call 601-496-7200 or use the C Spire Health UMMC Virtual COVID-19 Triage telehealth smartphone app, which is available for download through the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

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During the screening, a medical provider will determine the patient’s level of risk for having COVID-19 based on their symptoms -- fever, cough, shortness of breath or sore throat.

Dr. Jonathan Wilson with the University of Mississippi Medical Health Center says COVID-19 tests will only be given to "high-risk" patients.

"So that's what we're trying to assess through the screening process because we don't want to waste limited resources of testing supplies that we have,” said Dr. Wilson.

Limited resources are a concern across the nation.

It's why people entering this drive-thru Friday will see something a little different.

The typical disposable Personal Protective gear will be replaced with re-usable hoods to protect medical staff.

"It’s purely the look. It’s going to look sort of like a space suit of some sort rather than a mask and a face shield, but it’s not any different level of protection it’s because we need to reserve our disposable PPE for hospitals with acutely ill patients,” said Dr. Wilson.

"It's purely the look. It's going to look sort of like a space suit of some sort rather than a mask and a face shield, but it's not any different level of protection it's because we need to reserve our disposable PPE for hospitals with acutely ill patients,” said Dr. Wilson.

The announcement of the drive-thru testing comes on the heels of

Mississippi has seen an uptick of more than 100 new cases in one day, totaling 485 cases with more than 2,700 tested by the department of health.

"The numbers will go up because we’re increasing testing, but it’s also important to note that it’s not just because we’re testing more, but because this disease is spreading quickly,” said Dr. Wilson.

The Mississippi National Guard, the Mississippi Highway Patrol and the Mississippi Department of Transportation will be present for traffic control measures.

Anyone being tested will remain in their vehicle. Medical providers wearing protective gear will come to your window and swab your nose to retrieve specimens for testing to be performed at the MSDH Public Health Lab.

UMMC will notify those tested of the results and give further instructions.

Appointments for testing will only be given to people who are symptomatic for COVID-19 and are determined to need testing. Anyone not experiencing symptoms should not use the app or call.

Anyone determined to be low-risk for infection won’t receive an appointment for collection of specimens but instead will receive instructions on social distancing, home isolation and self-care – and told to call back if symptoms worsen.

For more information on prevention measures and the latest guidance, download the free MS Ready mobile app or click here.

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