State Department of Health providing free COVID-19 testing to teachers

Updated: Aug. 26, 2020 at 9:58 PM CDT
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BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. (WLOX) - The Mississippi State Department of Health is trying to help those who are shaping the future of the Magnolia State. Drive-through COVID-19 testing is now free and available to all educators.

A handful of teachers in Hancock County came out Wednesday and took advantage of the State Department of Health’s free service, and while it took a lot of effort to set up, the workers believe the end result is worth it.

“It is a lot of work trying to get all this coordinated, and we have really had a short turnaround time trying to get all this done, and it has gone fairly well so far,” said Christy Barry, interim director of the Office of Emergency Planning and Response. “It has been really rewarding knowing that we are able to provide the services for the teachers and in turn the students, the ones they are going to provide the services to, and making sure that they are going to be safe and COVID free when returning to the classrooms.”

In addition to testing Wednesday in Bay St. Louis, the State Health Department is hosting several other drive-through testing sites across the state.

“We have eight other sites just like this throughout the state today and we do those Monday through Friday, so we are covering a large amount of ground in a short amount of time, and like I said, we are going to continue doing these tests every other week,” Barry said.

That is a lot of testing taking place, and it’s made possible through strategic partnerships with organizations like the Mississippi National Guard, who actually administered all the COVID-19 tests at the Hancock County site Wednesday.

“Ever since COVID-19 has come about, we have had a lot of partnerships that we have already had developed, but they have gotten stronger throughout the whole process,” Barry said.

Teachers can once again take advantage of the free drive-through testing this Friday at the Harrison County Health Department. Testing hours run from noon until 7 p.m.

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