College students, faculty and staff can now receive free COVID-19 testing from the Mississippi State Department of Health at county health departments throughout the state on scheduled days.
The tests are administered in a drive-thru, and an appointment is required. Appointments can be placed on the MSDH website.
Wednesday is the first day that the Lafayette County Health Department will be open for the free testing. Public school teachers, childcare facility workers and school nurses are also eligible for the free testing. School nurses can also obtain a free N-95 mask at any testing location.
Deaths caused by COVID-19 are beginning to trend downward in Mississippi, according to data from the MSDH. Today, MSDH reported no deaths across the state caused by the virus for just the second time since March. The first report of no new deaths came on September 8. Case numbers in Mississippi have also trended downward this month.
Though case numbers in the state seem to be in decline, Lafayette County has seen a recent increase in transmission of the virus. Lafayette County saw 130 confirmed cases from Sept. 7 through Sept. 13, a 7% increase.
It remains difficult to understand the total number of cases in Lafayette County because students who have a permanent residence in a differing county are counted by MSDH in their home county when they test positive.
The University of Mississippi COVID-19 dashboard currently shows 41 active confirmed cases — all of which are among students — and two active campus outbreaks. These numbers show a downward trend from the high of almost 300 active cases and 16 total outbreaks during the week of Sept. 7.