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Doctors hopeful at-home COVID tests will be useful tool in fight against virus

Published: Jan. 19, 2022 at 3:00 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The number of positive COVID cases in the Magnolia State is continuing to surge with more than 22,000 confirmed positive cases over the holiday weekend.

“When I see these numbers, I think people aren’t being as responsible as they should be,” said Dr. Shardale McAfee. “They aren’t taking the precautions that we have been begging them to take for the past two years.”

As a result, people are pouring into clinics looking to get tested.

Long lines are becoming a common sight at Central Mississippi Health Services Clinics following the holiday season.

“We’ve seen an increase in the number of testing and an increase in the number of those tested who are positive,” said Dr. Lionel Fraser.

“The new variant is the main reason for the uptick,” added McAfee.

Doctors say they’ve seen a 200% increase in the number of people coming in to get a COVID test, but now, instead of visiting a clinic, people can get tested at their homes.

The at-home tests began being sold online Wednesday.

“The government has indicated that those with insurance will be covered in terms of their purchase for these tests,” said Fraser.

Meanwhile, people with private health insurance will be reimbursed for tests bought any time after Saturday.

President Joe Biden says the country will buy an additional 500 million kits. Doctors believe this will be another useful weapon in the fight against COVID-19.

“It’s hopefully giving us more access to provide the information that we need sooner rather than later,” said McAfee. “For people who are at home and have symptoms, if we haven’t been able to get them a telehealth visit, they’ll be able to have a home test that could give us results a little bit faster than them making an appointment at a COVID testing site.”

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