City of Jackson orders COVID-19 tests for first responders, inmates; issuing hazard pay for first responders

Updated: Apr. 7, 2020 at 1:41 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba discussed the city’s response to the coronavirus pandemic Tuesday afternoon.

Lumumba said the city is expanding COVID-19 testing by purchasing 6,000 testing kits, with 1,000 of those going to first responders and inmates at Hinds County Jail.

Lumumba said inmates are a very vulnerable part of the population because they live in cross proximity to each other.

The city will also be issuing hazard pay to first responders. He says first responders have been disproportionately impacted by the virus. The city has already handed out masks and gloves to first responders, but the nationwide shortage on those items has made it difficult and some of those items have been disinfected and reused.

The hazard pay checks will be issued by the end of the month.

The city will also provide places to stay for those who tested positive and do not want to infect their loved ones. They’ve partnered with hotels in the city that they are not identifying to the public.

A hotline has been launched for those experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. This will help the city identify hotspots and provide aid to those areas. Check the city’s website for more information.

Lumumba recommends Jackson residents wear masks. He called this a critical week against the virus.

“This may be the week that we may hit the highest number of cases, and we may hit the peak in the nation,” he said.

Lumumba asked people put a sign in their window for first responders and health care workers to show your support, and for anyone in a vehicle at noon Friday to honk their horn in support of first responders and health care workers.

Mayor Lumumba said the city has not issued a curfew because it would be redundant alongside the stay-at-home order. People should not leave their home unless for an essential need, and a curfew would not change that.

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