Poor People’s Campaign Offers Free COVID-19 Testing as Cases Rise | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Poor People’s Campaign Offers Free COVID-19 Testing as Cases Rise

The Mississippi Poor People’s Campaign sponsored an initiative to more easily restore voting rights to convicted felons last year. The group focuses on advocacy for vulnerable populations and is now offering free COVID-19 testing sites in Jackson. Photo by Nick Judin

The Mississippi Poor People’s Campaign sponsored an initiative to more easily restore voting rights to convicted felons last year. The group focuses on advocacy for vulnerable populations and is now offering free COVID-19 testing sites in Jackson. Photo by Nick Judin

COVID-19 infections continue to climb across the state, with the Mississippi State Department of Health reporting 8,204 new cases today along with 26 fatalities and continually increasing outbreaks across the state’s long-term care facilities.

While the Mississippi State Department of Health recently expanded COVID-19 testing locations around the state, getting an appointment in Hinds County through the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s scheduling website has proven difficult for some at times.

The Mississippi Poor People’s Campaign, an advocacy group focused on combating poverty and systemic racism, is hosting two free COVID-19 testing sites in Jackson for those unable to purchase tests.

The two testing sites, open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday this week, are along Terry Road by Home Depot and Medgar Evers Boulevard next to the Delta Mart Shopping Center. Volunteers have around 1,000 test kits of the mouth swab variety available to those in need. No insurance is necessary, but identification is required.

In a tweet this morning, State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs cautioned residents not to use the state’s overburdened hospital emergency rooms for COVID-19 testing when other means are available.

“Go to the ER if you have an emergency,” Dobbs said. “Please don't go to the ER just to get a test. They are overwhelmed and serving as overflow intensive-care units across the state.”

Biden Announces Free Mask Program

President Joe Biden announced a new program aimed at getting COVID-19 masks into more people’s hands this week, noting that masks are not “always affordable or convenient to get.” More details on the mask program will be forthcoming next week, along with the rollout of the official website to apply for free testing kits.

Biden initially announced a deal to purchase 500 million test kits for distribution to those who sign up to the website. In light of skyrocketing cases due to the omicron variant,

Biden announced plans to purchase another 500 million test kits, making a total of one billion kits available after the website launches, though the exact date of availability is not yet known.

Email Reporting Fellow Julian Mills at julian@jacksonfreepress.com.

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