Mississippi health authorities will be opening Tuesday a one-day drive-through site in Greenwood to test those who are showing symptoms of the novel coronavirus.

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The sample collection site will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Leflore County Civic Center on Mississippi 7.

The University of Mississippi Medical Center and the Mississippi State Department of Health began last week establishing one-day, drive-through testing sites outside of Jackson as one of the strategies to deal with the outbreak of the virus that causes COVID-19.

As of Saturday, Mississippi has 758 cases of the coronavirus and 14 deaths. Leflore County has 15 COVID-19 cases and Carroll County recorded its first this weekend.

Most people infected with the coronavirus only get mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, and recover in weeks. Many, however, will need hospitalization. Those most vulnerable to getting severely ill from the virus are older adults and those with existing health problems, who can develop severe complications such as pneumonia.

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The drive-through testing in Greenwood is free of charge but by appointment only, according to a press release from UMMC and the state Health Department.

Anyone experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19 — fever, cough or shortness of breath —  who feels they should be tested must first go through a free screening by a UMMC clinician through a smartphone app, the C Spire Health UMMC Virtual COVID-19 Triage app. Those without a smartphone can call 601-496-7200.

Those identified during the screening as high risk for having the coronavirus will receive an appointment to be tested Tuesday at the Civic Center site. At the site, they will give a specimen sample, via a nose swab, without exiting their vehicle. UMMC will later notify those tested of the results.

The press release asks that only those showing symptoms use the C Spire Health app or call.

In addition to Greenwood, one-day collection sites are scheduled for Vicksburg on Tuesday, Meridian on Wednesday, and Natchez and Picayune on Thursday.

Drive-through specimen collection is continuing daily at the Mississippi State Fairgrounds in Jackson.

Contact Tim Kalich at 581-7243 or tkalich@gwcommonwealth.com.

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