Mississippians can now pick up free COVID-19 self-tests from their county health department

Under the program, each family can receive eight BinaxNow rapid tests each month. No doctor’s note or documentation is needed, though the recipient’s name, number of tests and zip code will be logged. The tests can be picked up 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 can order more tests as often as necessary.

Liz Sharlot, director of communications at MSDH, said that the free test program has been in the works for the last few months and that the health department is “filling a public health gap and need by providing these home tests to the community.”

The move to supply free tests to Mississippians will help ease the financial barrier to at-home testing, as a pack of two self tests typically costs around $20.

This move by the health department comes as Mississippi faces another surge in COVID-19 infections. The state was seeing an average of 105 new infections each day at the beginning of 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 test program, where USPS will ship eight tests to any home in the U.S. A third round of free at-home tests can be ordered at COVIDtests.gov.

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Will Stribling covers healthcare and breaking news for Mississippi Today.