Friday, March 20, 2020
Mississippians will have access to a central COVID-19 testing location at the State Fairgrounds in Jackson starting Monday.
A new update to C-Spire’s mobile telehealth, available on the App Store for Apple devices and Google Play for Android, will connect Mississippians to online clinicians between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. each day. These clinicians will assess callers’ symptoms and possible exposure to the virus, and determine who to schedule for a drive-through sample collection at the mobile testing site, located on High Street in Jackson.
Read breaking coverage of COVID-19 in Mississippi, plus safety tips, cancellations, more in the JFP's archive.
Mississippi Department of Health leadership joined with University of Mississippi Medical Center officials today to share the process for the testing, as well as the program’s capacity. Officials repeatedly stressed that under no circumstances could residents seek testing at the Fairgrounds location without first using the app.
How Fairground Testing Sites Will Work
Testing will take place between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. with a total of 128 testing slots available each day. Individuals calling after the next day’s 128 slots have been filled will not be triaged or screened, and must use the app again to restart the process.
But even those who do not receive COVID-19 screenings can seek health guidance on their symptoms and condition. “You would either get a technological solution, that appointments that day are full, or a clinician coming on and pointing you to some resources,” State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said today.
The mobile testing process is designed to limit clinician exposure to the virus from potentially infected residents. Patients will drive through the site, remaining in their car, and a clinician will approach with the testing swab, collect a sample and send the patient home.
Test results are completed between 24 to 48 hours of the initial swab. Simulated testing will take place this weekend. Monday, March 23 will be the first day of actual testing.
UMMC officials also updated the public on their attempts to create an in-house test for COVID-19 for hospitalized patients. They expect to have the system running within seven to 10 days, which will not depend on the PCR tests, which are in such limited supply elsewhere. Other institutions lack the equipment needed to perform these in-house tests, officials said, because they are not advanced research institutions like UMMC. MSDH said it was encouraging clinics in other parts of the state to use private laboratories for testing.
Mayor: 10 Clinics In, Near Jackson Can Now Test
At a press conference at City Hall this afternoon, Jackson Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba announced that 10 clinics in Hinds County with private lab partners are now capable of processing COVID-19 tests. Joining the mayor was Dr. Jasmin Chapman, CEO of Jackson-Hinds Comprehensive Health Center, which operates many of the Hinds County clinics collecting samples for COVID-19 tests.
“Jackson-Hinds and our staff, a staff of over 300, is ready to take care of you as we always have,” Chapman said.
Just as with the Fairgrounds testing site, individuals seeking COVID-19 testing must call ahead to the clinic locations to be screened and scheduled for sample collections. Chapman also explained that even confirmed cases of COVID-19 would not necessarily be hospitalized.
“If you do test positive, and you don’t have shortness of breath, what we’re going to do is tell you to go home, and isolate yourself from your family,” she said.
Jackson-Hinds Comprehensive Health Center Clinics with COVID-19 sample collection capability are listed below. Call 601-362-5321 for all of the clinics.
James Anderson Health Facility
3502 West Northside Drive, Jackson
Jackson-Hinds Brown Simmons Clinic
129 West Oak St., Utica
Ethel James Ivory Homeless Clinic
327 South Gallatin St., Jackson
Jackson-Hinds South Clinic
145 Raymond Road, Jackson
Warren Family Healthcare
1203 Mission Park Drive, Vicksburg
Jackson-Hinds Edwards Clinic
100 South Magnolia St., Edwards
Bennie G. Thompson Clinic
541AB E. Woodrow Wilson Drive, Jackson
Jackson-Hinds Central Mississippi Medical Center
1860 Chadwick Drive, Suite 300, Jackson
Jackson Medical Mall
350 W. Woodrow Wilson St., Jackson
Copiah Comprehensive Health Center,
550 Caldwell Drive, Hazlehurst
Read the JFP’s coverage of COVID-19 at jacksonfreepress.com/covid19. Get more details on preventive measures here. Read about announced closings and delays in Mississippi here. Read MEMA’s advice for a COVID-19 preparedness kit here.
Email information about closings and other vital related logistical details to [email protected].
Email state reporter Nick Judin, who is covering COVID-19 in Mississippi, at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @nickjudin. Seyma Bayram is covering the outbreak inside the capital city and in the criminal-justice system. Email her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @seymabayram0.