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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: 341862

Reported Deaths: 7533
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds23783441
DeSoto23180283
Harrison20365329
Rankin15307290
Jackson15087251
Madison10917227
Lee10674179
Jones8969169
Forrest8621159
Lauderdale7839243
Lowndes7016151
Lamar696289
Lafayette6535124
Washington5589139
Pearl River5141152
Bolivar4949134
Oktibbeha491698
Panola4766112
Warren4709127
Marshall4691106
Pontotoc446273
Union432579
Monroe4322137
Neshoba4268181
Hancock423788
Lincoln4171116
Pike3650113
Leflore3619125
Tate352888
Alcorn349574
Sunflower347194
Adams340588
Scott340176
Yazoo338575
Copiah323468
Simpson322090
Itawamba314180
Coahoma313385
Tippah304768
Prentiss297863
Covington291883
Leake284675
Marion283681
Wayne276143
George270551
Grenada268888
Newton261564
Tishomingo239370
Winston236584
Jasper229548
Attala225973
Stone225337
Chickasaw218760
Holmes199274
Clay196754
Clarke186280
Tallahatchie183742
Calhoun181232
Smith178935
Yalobusha171340
Walthall145348
Lawrence141626
Greene139734
Amite136943
Noxubee134835
Perry133238
Montgomery132244
Carroll125931
Webster121032
Jefferson Davis116234
Tunica113427
Benton106225
Claiborne105031
Kemper102329
Humphreys100133
Franklin87723
Quitman84619
Choctaw82319
Wilkinson77732
Jefferson71128
Sharkey51618
Issaquena1736
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 577463

Reported Deaths: 11510
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson841981589
Mobile47171860
Madison37047533
Tuscaloosa26915465
Shelby26873256
Montgomery25918625
Baldwin24499328
Lee16949181
Calhoun15252332
Morgan15017290
Etowah14778370
Marshall12933235
Houston11774292
Elmore10761217
St. Clair10617252
Limestone10574158
Cullman10363205
Lauderdale10083254
DeKalb9382191
Talladega8836188
Walker7681287
Autauga7479114
Jackson7317117
Blount7266139
Colbert6635142
Coffee6163132
Dale5453117
Russell470642
Chilton4682117
Covington4649125
Franklin450081
Tallapoosa4440156
Escambia427882
Chambers3898125
Dallas3717163
Clarke367763
Marion3427106
Pike327879
Lawrence3225101
Winston294973
Bibb284565
Geneva276383
Marengo259967
Barbour246261
Pickens240062
Butler238272
Hale232778
Fayette225264
Henry209245
Monroe197241
Randolph196744
Cherokee196348
Washington180139
Macon168752
Crenshaw165558
Clay163759
Cleburne160245
Lamar149938
Lowndes144854
Wilcox130531
Bullock126142
Conecuh119630
Coosa116929
Perry109928
Sumter109032
Greene98736
Choctaw64325
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Friday we will see the hottest and most humid day of the week. We will see many areas top off in the 105 to 115 degree heat index. Some areas will approach 120. Very little chances for some isolated showers and thunderstorms for the late portion of the afternoon.
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