Hattiesburg, Mississippi – With the demand of COVID-19 tests increasing, the City of Hattiesburg, Hattiesburg Clinic and Forrest Health will continue their partnership and re-open a free COVID-19 community testing site at CE Roy Community Center (300 East 5th Street) on Saturdays and Wednesdays, from 8 a.m. until Noon, beginning July 31, 2021.
“New infection numbers are among the highest since this began. We appreciate Hattiesburg Clinic and Forrest Health for meeting this specific need of our community. I encourage all citizens to use this testing site as a way to detect infection and quarantine as early as possible,” said Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker.
To be tested, no appointment is necessary. Masks are required and patient check-in will take place in front of C.E. Roy Community Center under a tent. Patients will provide a phone number at check-in, then wait inside a vehicle until the time to receive the test.
“The last several weeks prove that this pandemic is not over. As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, our staff and personnel are working tirelessly to test and provide quarantine protocols to the community where needed most,” said Hattiesburg Clinic CEO Bryan Batson, M.D. “To help with this, it makes the most sense to come back to CE Roy Community Center.”
Testing at CE Roy Community Center for COVID-19 began in May 2020 as a response to a similar need at the beginning of the pandemic. In late June 2021, the service was phased out due to a lack of demand.
During a press conference earlier in the week, Batson stated that the Hattiesburg Clinic system averaged 30-50 patients per week in the months of May and June 2021. The week of July 19, they diagnosed 469 cases. As of Wednesday, the week of July 26 already included 280 diagnosed COVID-19 cases.
Barker added, “No one wants to be here again, and I hope the numbers we’ve seen in our community over the last several weeks draw a clearer picture for those who have not been vaccinated to get their shot.”
The C.E. Roy Community Center has served the Hattiesburg community through testing and vaccination efforts, serving as the site for three vaccination clinics.
Batson added, ”The best action to take a stand against COVID-19 continues to be the vaccine. While no vaccine is 100% – which we’ve said from the beginning – they do remain our best way to slow the spread of this deadly virus. It prevents infection and is extremely effective in reducing the severity of the disease, risk of hospitalization and risk of death. If you’re on the fence about the vaccine, please talk with a trusted health care professional about your concerns and make an appointment.”