Mississippians can now get free self-tests for COVID-19 from them district health directorate.
Under the program, each family can receive eight BinaxNow rapid tests each month. No doctor’s note or documentation is needed, although the recipient’s name, number of tests and zip code will be recorded. Tests can be taken during regular health department hours without an appointment.
The number of tests each county health department received was based on the county’s population and the number of days the clinic is open. Each county health department may order more tests as often as needed.
Liz Sharlot, director of communications at MSDH, said the free testing program has been in the works for the past few months and that the health department is “filling a public health gap and need by offering these home tests to the community.”
The move to offer free tests to Mississippians will help ease the financial barrier to home testing, as a two-pack of self-tests typically costs about $20.
The health department’s action comes as Mississippi faces another spike in COVID-19 infections. The state was seeing an average of 105 new infections each day in early May, but is now seeing an average of 1,445. Hospitalizations have also increased by more than 50% over the past month.
The MSDH program is similar to a federal free testing program, where the USPS will mail eight tests to every home in the U.S. A third round of free home tests can be ordered at COVIDtests.gov.