Lisa Cox, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services
JEFFERSON CITY, MO – Transmission of COVID-19 continues to be high throughout most areas of Missouri. The Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is continuing to adapt to the everchanging needs among communities and provide additional free testing sites in other areas of the state, such as Hillsboro, Peculiar, Columbia and Springfield. Large testing events at the St. Charles Family Arena and Kauffman Stadium have also been extended through this week.
At this time, these are scheduled as drive-through testing events. Some sites require pre-registration and scheduling; others allow walk-ins. The schedule of community testing events is available at health.mo.gov/communitytest. The test used at these community testing events is a PCR test done by an anterior nares swab to determine the presence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Once tested, individuals will be notified of results no later than 72 hours from the end of the testing event.
This winter, it may be necessary for DHSS, local officials and the testing contractor to cancel a testing event or move the event indoors due to inclement weather. This is in order to protect the safety of testing staff and participants as well as maintain the functionality of the technology used. Before heading to an event, it is best to check the website to make sure the event has not been canceled or details have not changed.
Community testing sites scheduled throughout the state can be found at health.mo.gov/communitytest.
The at-home PCR test ordering program offered by the state remains available in a limited amount each day through January. DHSS would encourage those who have obtained these tests to use them by mailing in their sample as instructed. With the high case rates and limited testing supplies available nationwide, now is the time to utilize these tests especially for those who have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or have had exposure to a COVID-19 positive case.
Additionally, the federal government is now offering four free rapid antigen COVID-19 tests per household. These can be ordered at covidtests.gov.
It is an important reminder that testing provides information regarding the presence of the virus at that point in time and if taken too early or too late could provide a false sense of security due to lower levels of viral load. For those with COVID-like symptoms, it is recommended they stay home and avoid contact with others just as they would with other viruses.
About the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services: The department seeks to be the leader in protecting health and keeping people safe. More information about DHSS can be found at http://health.mo.gov or find us on Facebook and Twitter @HealthyLivingMo