As part of a plan to get a better picture of the number of COVID-19 cases across the state, a three-day, drive-thru testing event will be held in Jefferson County.
The testing is free and will be held from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, June 1-2, at Faith Community Church, 4824 Scottsdale Road, in House Springs, and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 3, at the Hillsboro Community Civic Center, 10349 Business 21.
Health Department Director Kelley Vollmar said she hopes at least 500 tests will be conducted in Jefferson County during those three days.
The only requirement to be tested at the event is Missouri residency. People do not have to be experiencing symptoms to be tested, health officials reported.
Vollmar announced in a May 21 Facebook Live video May 21 that the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is offering the testing.
“We are grateful to the state for making this opportunity possible,” she said. “Testing is extremely important in this pandemic and kits have been difficult to get. The more testing that is done – on symptomatic as well as asymptomatic residents – the more we will continue to learn about how this disease spreads and how prevalent it is in our communities.”
The Jefferson County testing event is part of a larger 10-day testing period across the state, DHSS said in a written statement.
The testing is part of a plan Gov. Mike Parson announced on May 21 to test about 7,500 residents a day.
“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,” he 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.”
Vollmar said the Health Department could only get equipment for two testing sites.
“We wanted to make sure we hit the eastern and the western side of the county,” she said.
Vollmar said members of the Missouri National Guard will be on hand to set up the drive-thru testing sites and to administer the tests.
“They have been doing this all over the state and they do a fantastic job of keeping it organized,” she said.
Vollmar said the results from the testing event will help the county make decisions about plans to further reopen the county.
“It's actually really helping us to identify where the symptomatic and asymptomatic status is, and if our percentage of positives are low, that gives us more wiggle room to really be able to start taking some steps forward,” she said.
Vollmar said the testing results could affect recommendations about holding sports events and large gatherings.
“If we have a bunch of people who are asymptomatic or testing positive, then the kinds of prevention measures that we would be recommending would fall in line with limitations on the size of groups that could gather and how people could be interacting again,” she said.
Vollmar said she does not believe the county would completely shut down again, even with high positive results.
According to health officials, the test will be a nasal swab to see if a person has an active COVID-19 infection.
People who want to be tested will get a 15-minute appointment, and upon arrival at the testing site, will be asked questions, and a member of the National Guard will collect the specimen, which will be sent to Quest Diagnostics for testing.
Then, the DHSS will notify people who get tested within seven days with results, officials reported.
According to the release, pre-registration is “highly encouraged.” The link to sign up online is health.mo.gov/communitytest. People without internet access may register by calling the Missouri COVID-19 hotline at 877-435-8411.
Vollmar said residents will be assigned a date and time to go get tested.