JACKSON, MISS – More than 500 people in one of the poorest counties in Mississippi were tested for the coronavirus by the state Department of Health over the past week as part of a new experimental initiative to slow the spread of the virus by community transmission.
State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said medical professionals went in with the goal of testing every resident in Lexington, the Holmes County seat, where 2,000 people live. By identifying those who are asymptomatic, Dobbs said, officials hoped to limit cases of the virus being passed unknowingly from person to person.
“We didn’t quite get every resident, but if we got 500, I was going to consider it a success, and we surpassed that,” he said Monday.
A total of 561 people were tested in Lexington, 14 of whom weren’t previously aware they had been infected with the coronavirus. The majority of those 14 people were asymptomatic.
Holmes County has been hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic. It’s one of the smallest counties in the state, and it’s seen 900 cases of coronavirus, according to the Department of Health. That’s around 5% of the population.