RIPLEY • On Monday, April 6, the University of Mississippi Medical Center and the Mississippi State Department of Health will open a mobile COVID-19 sample collection site at the Tippah County Fairgrounds for one day only.

The appointment-only testing is free of charge. Mississippians who have been screened as being high risk of infection will give a specimen sample, via a nose swab, without exiting their vehicle.

The testing site will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and the Mississippi National Guard are collaborating with UMMC and MSDH to facilitate the collections.

Anyone experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, who feel they should be tested must first go through a free screening from a UMMC clinician through the C Spire Health UMMC Virtual COVID-19 Triage telehealth smartphone app. Those without a smartphone can call (601) 496-7200. Using the C Spire Health app is the easiest, quickest process to be screened and receive an appointment.

Residents that live in and around those areas who believe they need to be screened can do so now by using the C Spire Health app, or for those that don’t have a smartphone, the phone number listed above. Those meeting high-risk criteria will be given an appointment at the mobile collection site closest to them.

Drive-through specimen collection using this same process also is continuing daily at the Mississippi State Fairgrounds in Jackson.

During the screening, a medical provider will determine the patient’s level of risk for having COVID-19 based on their symptoms of fever, cough, shortness of breath or sore throat. Anyone found to be high-risk for having coronavirus will receive an appointment to be tested at a collection site closest to them.

At the collection sites, providers wearing protective gear will come to the vehicle window to retrieve specimens for testing to be performed at the MSDH Public Health Lab. Those being tested aren’t permitted to leave their vehicle.

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 is asked not to use the app or call.

Anyone determined to be at 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.

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