Free COVID-19 test sites open, surgeon general urges testing

The U.S. surgeon general said Friday that Alabama remains in the “red zone” for COVID-19 spread, but numbers are headed in the right direction, as he and state health officials announced the opening of free testing sites.

Posted: Sep 19, 2020 8:34 PM

HOOVER, Ala. (AP) — The U.S. surgeon general said Friday that Alabama remains in the “red zone” for COVID-19 spread, but numbers are headed in the right direction, as he and state health officials announced the opening of free testing sites.

The testing sites will be open for two weeks and have the capacity to do large numbers of free COVID-19 tests. People will go to the sites and do a self-administered nasal swab and submit the sample for testing. Health officials announced the sites at a press conference attended by U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams at one of the sites outside the Riverchase Galleria in Hoover.

“The power to stop COVID lies in each and every one of our hands,” Adams said.

Adams said he wanted to give a “thanks and shout out” to Gov. Kay Ivey and State Health Officer Scott Harris for implementing a statewide mask mandate. He said Alabama remains in the red zone for case numbers and the percentage of tests coming back positive, but the numbers are showing improvement.

“Thank you to the people of Alabama. You are the only state that is in the red that has indicators all moving in the right direction.”

The new collection sites are an attempt to increase testing as asymptomatic spread drives virus transmission. People will be given a kit to do a self-administered nasal swab at the sites and submit it for testing. People can register for the tests and find locations at www.doineedacovid19test.com

While speaking at the press conference, the surgeon general demonstrated how people will do the test, which involves putting a collection stick in each nostril. It does not need to go back to the throat like some tests do.

“Testing is free and available to anyone who can self-swab, including children regardless whether or not you are experiencing symptoms,” Adams said.

Jefferson County Health Officer Mark Wilson said the testing sites are an important opportunity to get a lot of people testing in a short amount of time. He said the sites can do up to 60,000 tests over the next two weeks.

“We want people who don’t have symptoms to get tested if they have any inkling they have been in an environment, or in a place, where they might have been exposed — large crowds, or maybe they are essential workers who are dealing with the public a lot,” Wilson said.

While Alabama cases numbers are headed in the right direction, Adams cautioned that all it takes is one group of people deciding to have a fraternity party or barbecue to spread the virus.

“That can turn into a cluster, which turns into an outbreak, which turns into greater community spread and we don’t have college football in the fall,” Adams said.

He said the most important thing people can do is the three W’s — wear a mask, wash your hands and watch your distance from others.

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Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 156868

Reported Deaths: 3851
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10409104
Hinds10279202
Harrison7313112
Jackson6566128
Rankin5887106
Lee529496
Madison5014107
Forrest389786
Jones369088
Lauderdale3594147
Lafayette338253
Washington3246108
Lamar297850
Oktibbeha252362
Lowndes247064
Bolivar244384
Panola232653
Neshoba2249121
Marshall222851
Leflore208591
Monroe206778
Pontotoc204231
Lincoln197366
Sunflower192655
Warren180258
Tate177751
Union171926
Copiah167940
Pike165359
Yazoo160140
Scott159430
Itawamba157635
Alcorn155628
Pearl River155368
Coahoma152743
Simpson152653
Prentiss151331
Adams144752
Grenada143345
Leake139744
Holmes133461
Covington128639
Tippah128430
George128325
Winston125526
Hancock124341
Wayne121323
Marion119446
Attala119334
Tishomingo112443
Chickasaw109432
Newton108229
Tallahatchie98127
Clay94727
Clarke93653
Jasper85223
Stone80615
Calhoun78713
Walthall77629
Montgomery76926
Carroll74115
Lawrence73814
Smith73216
Yalobusha73128
Noxubee72717
Perry68326
Tunica62619
Greene61522
Jefferson Davis59017
Claiborne58916
Amite56615
Humphreys54719
Benton50018
Quitman5007
Webster46714
Kemper45018
Wilkinson40522
Jefferson37112
Choctaw3617
Franklin3555
Sharkey32417
Issaquena1204
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 252900

Reported Deaths: 3638
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson33526501
Mobile20103365
Madison13723151
Tuscaloosa13366154
Montgomery12552236
Shelby1079677
Baldwin9051137
Lee787266
Morgan696451
Calhoun6598121
Etowah656167
Marshall647357
Houston541038
DeKalb498137
Cullman462443
St. Clair441956
Limestone440445
Lauderdale426754
Elmore421164
Walker3735111
Talladega370157
Jackson340423
Colbert332042
Blount306140
Autauga281842
Franklin257434
Coffee250015
Dale239054
Dallas231532
Chilton228939
Russell22663
Covington225034
Escambia202331
Tallapoosa187291
Chambers182750
Pike161514
Clarke161019
Marion144736
Winston137523
Lawrence133436
Pickens126518
Geneva12508
Marengo123424
Bibb120418
Barbour118911
Butler118642
Randolph105522
Cherokee105124
Hale98131
Fayette94616
Washington93219
Clay92824
Henry8896
Monroe83011
Lowndes80929
Cleburne78814
Macon75522
Crenshaw72230
Bullock70119
Lamar7018
Conecuh70014
Perry6916
Wilcox64818
Sumter58622
Greene43518
Choctaw43114
Coosa3664
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