COVID testing site request approved for county

DeSoto County learned Tuesday that the county’s request to get a Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) COVID-19 testing site in the county has been approved. Another request made by the Board of Supervisors Monday for an emergency field hospital, similar to two field hospitals now in place in Jackson, was not immediately responded to by state officials. 

County officials were not aware of when testing would start, because MSDH is outsourcing the testing and the department is working to get the people needed to run the testing site. Once the site is determined and the manpower is made available, the testing site would be open on a five-day-a-week schedule.    

On Monday, DeSoto County EMS Director Mark Davis asked for the testing site request, telling supervisors, “Right now, if you are sick and need to get tested, it might be two or three days for an appointment. There are just not enough.”

Supervisors believe a Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) testing location is needed in response to the rise in COVID-19 cases. Some pharmacies, clinics, and doctor offices are providing tests, but many can’t keep up with the demand and have to turn people away.

The field hospital request was made due to a growing strain on hospital beds at the county’s two hospitals, Baptist Memorial Hospital-DeSoto in Southaven and Methodist Olive Branch Hospital.  

“The health and welfare of everyone in DeSoto County is our greatest concern,” said Mark Gardner, Board President and District Two Supervisor. “We want to make sure they have all the services and resources they need, when they need it, which is why we are requesting help from the state.”

One of the two such hospitals already opened in Mississippi is being established by the University of Mississippi Medical Center in one of the hospital’s parking garages with the help of the Christian relief charity organization Samaritan’s Purse, founded by the late evangelist Billy Graham’s son Franklin. Samaritan’s Purse has set up field hospitals in other cities hard hit by the surging numbers of coronavirus.  

On Tuesday, the Mississippi State Department of Health reported an additional 3,323 coronavirus cases in the state and 67 additional deaths. Two of the deaths reported came from DeSoto County, for a pandemic total of 290. The two added victims were from the time period of Aug. 11-16, according to MSDH. There have been a total of 25,113 COVID-19 cases from DeSoto County since the pandemic was first declared.  

Health officials continue to urge vaccinations as the best means to stifle the growth of coronavirus. The 14-day, daily state average went about 3,000 for the first time on Tuesday, and August’s case total of 48,804 as of Tuesday has eclipsed any other month in 2021, except for January’s 59,185 cases.  

Visit the MSDH website for more information. 

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