TUPELO • MedPlus Family and Urgent Care is now offering drive-thru testing for COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) at its Tupelo and Fulton locations.

“We wanted to offer the (drive-thru) testing as soon as we possibly could because no one in the area was offering it, so we wanted to limit the risk of our patients,” said John Logan, director.

The testing, which began Sunday, is available only to patients who have cough/respiratory symptoms and fever and suspect they have coronavirus or have traveled abroad or come in contact with someone who had coronavirus. Tests are limited.

During a Monday press conference, State Health Officer Thomas Dobbs said private clinics are operating drive thru clinics now throughout the state. He could not name specific clinics and areas they were operating during the conference but said the state would be working diligently to get a full list of what’s available.

“It’s been a practice we’ve been encouraging,” Dobbs said.

MedPlus is asking patients, if they can, to log on online to sign up for services. They can choose a time to come in and list coronavirus testing as the visit type. Visitors are asked to include their type of car and color of color in the “Info for the Provider” box.

Patients should not enter the physical clinic, as it puts other patients and the staff at risk. Testing will be done in the parking lots of both locations, with MedPlus treating patients at their car.

“We go to their window, we swab them and we check them for fever and we ask the medical questions. A provider talks to them through a telemedicine visit and discusses with them what ailments and all they’re having,” Logan said.

Since flu and coronavirus symptoms are similar, they will also test patients for the flu if that is suspected. If they have the flu or another ailment, they will be treated at their car.

The clinic asks those who suspect they have coronavirus to self-quarantine until they receive results. For more life-threatening respiratory problems, they ask patients to call 911 instead for assistance.

Logan said MedPlus worked for the last few weeks to be prepared to provide testing and will be offering it as long as they can.

“The curbside testing is needed because a lot of clinics are not seeing patients because of the risk for coronavirus. One of the best ways to avoid that risk is to have them stay in their car and for us to go to them in their car and get them tested in their car,” Logan said.

Testing will be available at normal clinic hours, which is seven days a week until 7 p.m. More information can be found at https://www.medplusclinics.com. Locations are 874 Barnes Crossing Road, Tupelo, and 407 Interchange Drive, Fulton.

The clinic will continue seeing its normal patients as walk-ins, but asks anyone with symptoms to not go to the clinic. Telemedicine is also a service they offer.

Clinic physicians recommend washing hands frequently with soap and water, practicing social distancing and avoiding touching your face.

danny.mcarthur@journalinc.com

Twitter: @Danny_McArthur_

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