DeSoto, Coahoma Counties set up COVID-19 testing sites as cases rise

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CLARKSDALE, Miss. — It's estimated that 300 people may have been exposed to the coronavirus while attending a funeral service two weeks ago in Clarksdale.

The person who may have given it to them is none other than the pastor at the service.

Clifton Carter said he isn’t concerned for himself, but he is concerned for his friend, Bishop Timothy Scott.

"He was not well," Carter said. "He’s run down."

He's also concerned for the hundreds who attended a March 14 funeral service at Scott’s Clarksdale church.

Scott’s wife confirmed both she and her husband were at the service, and they both tested positive for the coronavirus a week later.

"The traditions that’s in the black church, that’s in Christendom altogether are going to have to change," Clark said. "We can’t remain the same; all this hugging and hand shaking and ‘Brother, how you doing?’ We got to do something different."

Scott’s wife said he was sick before the March 14 funeral.

She believes he could have contracted the virus at another funeral he led in Leflore County on March 7, where one of the attendees tested positive.

"He’s from New Orleans, and you know that is an epicenter since the Mardi Gras," Clark said. "He came to the funeral hugging and shaking on bishop’s hand and being really close to bishop, and bishop was praying for everybody."

As Scott recovers in the hospital and his wife remains under self-quarantine at home, those who’ve come into contact with them will have a chance to get tested Friday.

The state health department is setting up two mobile testing sites from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

One is in Olive Branch, and one in Clarksdale. But to be tested, you need to call 601-496-7200 ahead of time.

  • Coahoma Expo Center, 1150 Wildcat Drive, Clarksdale, Mississippi
  • Lewisburg High School, 1755 Craft Road, Olive Branch, Mississippi

You’ll be screened for symptoms, and if medical professionals feel it’s likely you have coronavirus, you’ll be allowed to make an appointment at one of the testing sites.

Carter said he doesn’t blame Scott for potentially spreading the virus because he didn’t know he had it.

"Bishop is a good person, and he’s in another generation where they really try regardless," he said.

Those testing sites Friday aren’t just for those who attended the funeral. Anyone who’s showing strong symptoms of coronavirus can be tested, but an appointment must be made first. Call 601-496-7200 to be screened for an appointment.

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