Hattiesburg, Mississippi – To accelerate testing capacity and access for residents in Hattiesburg, the City of Hattiesburg is partnering with the Forrest County Emergency Management District, the Forrest County Board of Supervisors, Hattiesburg Clinic, Forrest General and the Mississippi Department of Health to provide a free COVID-19 community testing center at C.E. Roy Community Center (500 E Fifth Street).
The testing center will open on Monday, May 18 and be open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. An appointment is not needed and symptoms are not required for testing.
Testing is free, covered by a grant from the Department of Health. In addition to providing use of this facility, the City of Hattiesburg will also aim to use part of its COVID-19 Community Development Block Grant to support operations of the facility and funding for ongoing case management for the individuals who test positive.
“We know that COVID-19 will be in our community until there is a proven therapeutic or a vaccine,” said Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker. “In our response to that, access to testing must be expanded. Two goals have driven our city’s response to COVID-19: (1) protecting vulnerable populations; and (2) preventing the overrun of the health care system by slowing the spread. This testing center is a strategic step forward in fulfilling both.”
Staffed by Hattiesburg Clinic and Forrest General Hospital, the center will have the capacity to test approximately 70 people per day.
“This is an important step in moving forward and understanding how this virus is affecting our community,” said Dr. Bryan Batson of both Hattiesburg Clinic and Forrest General. “It will allow us to expand access to testing and further identify and care for those who have the virus.”
The testing center is a public-private partnership between local government agencies, Hattiesburg Clinic, Forrest General and the Mississippi State Department of Health,
“We are so proud that Forrest County has been the leader in testing and treating COVID-positive patients,” said President David Hogan. “With this grant, we’re able to provide this additional service as an expansion of that.”
Barker added, “Even before our first case, our local response to COVID-19 has deliberately and cohesively been a part of collaborating across the public and private sector. Our local leaders and the medical community have stepped up to the plate to provide for our citizens – from key PPE and sanitization items and spaces to operate creatively to innovative solutions for testing and expanding capacity where possible. We’ve seen some tremendous hits on our community throughout this public health crisis, but today’s news is a glimpse of good and hope as we continue to fight through this pandemic.”
For information regarding the City of Hattiesburg’s response to COVID-19, visit hattiesburgms.com/coronavirus.