Coronavirus drive-through testing site coming to Meridian

MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) A coronavirus drive-through testing site is coming to Meridian on Wednesday.

Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs speaks at a press conference held in Meridian addressing the increasing coronavirus cases in Lauderdale County.

In an email to WTOK, the Mississippi State Department of Health in partnership with the University of Mississippi Medical Center confirmed they are opening a one-day drive-through testing site in the city.

The Meridian testing site's location has not yet been determined.

Mississippians must first set up an appointment to be screened for COVID-19 before utilizing drive-through testing sites.

Individuals who believe they need to be screened for symptoms can call UMCC or use its telehealth app. Those who have been screened as being high risk of infection will then be able to set up a drive-through appointment.

The drive-through testing format will require individuals to give a specimen sample via a nose swab without exiting their vehicle.

State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs was in Meridian Saturday, joining Mayor Percy Bland at a press conference to update the public on the city's efforts to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

During Saturday's press conference, Dr. Dobbs said there is some concern in Lauderdale County as the number of cases stands at 12. He also said Lauderdale County should expect a surge in cases over the next one to two weeks.

While in town, Dobbs visited both Rush and Anderson hospital.

"I have been fortunate today to meet with the mayor and leadership of Rush and Anderson hospital. I think as good of a job as can be done has been done here," Dr. Hobbs said. "I think they are well prepared."

Dobbs also said the state’s supply for protective gear has been depleted.

“None of us have adequate protective gear for our healthcare workers. Unfortunately, that’s a real national struggle,” he said.

He urged individuals in East Mississippi to continue to stick to recommended guidelines even if they or someone they know has not been directly impacted by COVID-19.

“Just stay committed to it. These social distancing things are really important,” he said. “Don’t be around people you don’t have to be around. Don’t travel if you don’t have to travel.”