JONESTOWN — Aaron E. Henry Community Health Services Center Inc. has been providing free coronavrius testing to individuals in Clarksdale, but saw a need to reach out to communities where it doesn’t not have a presence.
On Wednesday, May 20, AEH representatives went to Jonestown and tested 129 individuals, confirming some cases and giving others a clean bill of health.
“We’ve been doing the drive-through testing for the last three or four weeks at our sites,” said Dr. Johnnie Cummings, AEH chief medical officer. “Last week, we started community outreach going to various communities to do testing in the communities. This one is in Jonestown. We’ve had a good turnout so far.”
Cummings said he is waiting for other town leaders from across the county to respond so AEH can provide COVID-19 testing in other towns.
“It’s easier for the community-based leaders to get their people to come in their local community rather than to try and get them to Clarksdale,” Cummings said.
Jonestown Mayor Kenny Lester was pleased with how the testing went.
“We had a great turnout with 129 people tested,” Lester said. “I want to thank Aaron E. Henry, BGM (But God Ministries), Sheriff (Charles) Jones and the Coahoma County Sheriff Department, Supervisor Derrell Washington and everyone who came out and got tested. Giving God the glory, we are praying for all negative results. We are hoping to have testing again in about two weeks. We are hoping to have even more to come out.”
Cummings said going to individual communities would help AEH break things down.
“We’re expecting more negative (results), but at the same time, it will help us track better what’s in a particular community,” Cummings said.
“Every community has its own unique differences or similarities,” he added. “Jonestown is a majority minority community. In other areas, particularly in urban sites, it’s been said that the black and brown community seem to have more coronavirus.”
Cummings said part of the reason more African-Americans may be contracting the coronavirus is they have front-line jobs.
Jonestown is one of the smaller communities in Coahoma County, but that may or may not lead to more positive test results.
“It depends on how much social distancing we practice and how much we’re wearing masks and doing good hygiene,” Cummings said. “Any community paying attention and cautious should be protected.”
The number of new cases of COVID-19 in Coahoama County jumped by its highest total yet Monday as 10 new cases of the disease were reported over the weekend.
Health officials have warned of spikes in the case count and Coahoma County is not immune to coronavirus as proved by testing in Clarksdale and Jonestown by the Aaron E. Henry Community Health Services Center on Monday and Jonestown.
Tests usually take about three days – or longer – to come back.
Tuesday’s report comes after the county saw only 16 new cases over the prior two weeks and no deaths since April 28.
The community coronavirus count stands at 108 cases of infection. Statewide, the number of new cases new cases reported stood at 273 today down from the 402 news cases reported Friday.