Because of the high response to free COVID-19 testing at the C.E. Roy Community Center on East Fifth Street in downtown Hattiesburg, officials are expanding the site’s capacity for testing by 20 per day.
Mayor Toby Barker said the original capacity of 70 was reached by 1 p.m. Monday – the day the site opened for testing – necessitating the shutdown of the center for the day. Because of that, as of Wednesday, the capacity was raised to 90 tests.
“Part of our reopening strategy is expanded testing, and we’re trying to get that to all parts of the city,” Barker said. “The sooner you can test someone – and if they’re positive, get them into case management and isolate them – the less likely it’s going to spread. Testing is going to be a big part of going forward.”
The site is made possible by a partnership between the City of Hattiesburg, the Forrest County Emergency Management District, the Forrest County Board of Supervisors, Hattiesburg Clinic, Forrest General Hospital and the Mississippi State Department of Health.
Testing is free at the center, which is staffed by Hattiesburg Clinic and Forrest General, and is open from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
“Testing itself and part of the operations come from a grant from the Department of Health,” Barker said. “The city is going to use part of our (Community Development Block Grant) allotment for operations as well, and for ongoing case management for people who do test positive. But most of it will be paid for by the grant.”
A person is not required to show symptoms for testing.
“We are so proud that Forrest County has been the leader in testing and treating COVID-positive patients,” said David Hogan, president of the Forrest County Board of Supervisors. “With this grant, we’re able to provide this additional service as an expansion of that.”
For more information regarding testing during operation hours, call (601) 545-4580.