JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Edited News Release) -- Several counties throughout Missouri have already participated in community sampling efforts in order for public health officials to learn more about the prevalence of COVID-19 transmission.
As part of Gov. Mike Parson’s plan announced on May 21 to rapidly increase COVID-19 testing volume to 7,500 tests per day in Missouri, six additional counties will host testing events. The goal is to test nearly 10,000 people over a 10-day period at events in Boone, Cape Girardeau, Greene, Jackson, Jefferson and St. Charles Counties.
Community sampling gives the state a better sense of COVID-19 prevalence in a given area, which will help guide its response and ease uncertainty for Missourians. If prevalence is low, this will help reassure citizens that it is safe to begin re-engaging in the community and returning to somewhat normal operations. If prevalence is higher, quick and proactive steps will be taken to keep the virus from spreading further in the community.
Any Missouri residents who wish to be tested with a nasal swab to see if they have an active COVID-19 infection can do so at the specified sites in each region at no cost to the individual. Missouri residency is the only requirement; individuals do not have to live in the county in which they are tested, and they do not have to be experiencing symptoms.
June 1-2, 7 a.m.-7 p.m., Hickman High School, Columbia
Cape Girardeau County
June 5, 7 a.m.-7 p.m., Arena Park, Cape Girardeau
June 4-5, 7 a.m.-7 p.m., Ozark Empire Fairgrounds, Springfield
May 26-30, 7 a.m.-7 p.m., Silverstein Eye Center Arena, Independence
June 1-2, 7 a.m.-7 p.m., Faith Community Church, House Springs
June 3, 7 a.m.-7 p.m., Hillsboro Civic Center, Hillsboro
St. Charles County
May 26-28, 7 a.m.-7 p.m., St. Charles County Public Health Department, St. Charles
May 29-30, 7 a.m.-7 p.m.. The Youth Activity Park, Dardenne Prairie
Online pre-registration is highly encouraged and will allow for the testing event to run efficiently for patients. Those without access to online pre-registration can call the Missouri COVID-19 hotline for registration assistance at 877-435-8411.
Selection for community sampling is based on locations with the ability to draw participants from a broader region as well as locations that have expressed a need for additional testing resources. It is not based on the number of COVID-19 cases in these counties. CARES Act funding will be used for community sampling. Some counties have also elected to provide community sampling using local funding.
The community-based testing will be operated by the Department of Health and Senior Services and Missouri National Guard in coordination with the hosting local public health agencies.
Over the next two weeks, the state will aggressively execute on this testing strategy, as well as the box-in strategy for outbreaks within facilities and sentinel testing of vulnerable populations. With these strategies in place in addition to the testing already occurring each day, Department of Health and Senior Services Director Dr. Randall Williams believes the state will reach its goal of 7,500 tests per day. “We have worked hard to determine how to best utilize the testing capacity we now have in our state in order to protect the health of Missourians,” he said.
Once Missouri’s overall testing numbers have increased, the state will reevaluate and determine next steps.
“I cannot emphasize enough how important testing is to our overall recovery plan. All four pillars of our recovery plan are important, but testing will be the key,” Gov. Parson said. “The more testing we do, the more knowledge we have on what the situation in Missouri actually looks like, and the better-equipped we are to move forward.”
Those who would like to be tested can pre-register for the site nearest them at health.mo.gov/communitytest. More information can be found at health.mo.gov/coronavirus.