MOSS POINT, Miss. (WLOX) - The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) tested 59 people at the drive-through testing center in Moss Point Monday. The testing was conducted by the University of Mississippi Medical Center with operated with the support of Mississippi National Guard soldiers and airmen.
While it was free and anyone with symptoms could get tested, those who underwent testing had to first go through a screening process. That extra step was to ensure that a test needed to be administered.
Dr. Allan Jones said screenings allowed them to test the people who are most at risk.
“We’re trying to test the patients that really need to be tested. So, it’s inappropriate at this time to be testing asymptomatic people or people that have really mild symptoms," Jones said. "The screening really is an attempt to try to test the appropriate population that has the highest potential for infection.”
Drive-through testing centers help MSDH determine if certain areas are hot spots.
“What we’re trying to do is go ahead and get a lot of the community tested so we have a good idea of the prevalence in certain counties. They’re choosing geographical areas of the state that seem to have some increasing prevalence so they can have an idea if there’s a problem in certain counties," Jones said. "If there are problems in certain areas, then they send in an epidemiology team to try to do some patient tracing and figure out if they can control that outbreak in a more timely manner.”
According to Mayor of Moss Point Mario King, his city has multiple hot spots and that is why he asked for the testing center.
“Some of the essential businesses are in what I call our hot spots," King said. “Some of those places are General Macarthur (Street), Hubert (Street), the Kreole area, the Escatawpa area north of (Highway) 63, our Ward Four area. We have to understand those are hot spots. I’ve talked with families there. I’ve seen the numbers. These are where we are getting a lot of cases. Some of our areas in Ward Five. We need to be very careful.”
This was the only drive-through testing center in Jackson County, and it was only open for one day. King said he has asked the state health department to open the drive-through testing center for another day in the future.