Any Missouri resident can get tested for COVID-19 during upcoming testing days throughout the state.


Missouri Governor Mike Parson announced in a recent COVID-19 briefing that his current concern is increasing testing. He said his goal is to test nearly 10,000 people over a 10-day period at events throughout Missouri.


As part of this initiative, the Department of Health and Senior Services reports the state has supplied six counties with the resources to carry out widespread community sampling: Boone, Cape Girardeau, Greene, Jackson, Jefferson and St. Charles.


WHO CAN GET TESTED?


This is a voluntary program — any Missouri resident, whether experiencing symptoms or not, can attend a testing event in any of the available counties. You do not need to be a resident of a particular county to participate.


The testing is operated by DHSS and the Missouri National Guard in coordination with local public health agencies.


Kayla Parker, a communications specialist for the Jackson County health department, says that Jackson county will administer up to 800 tests a day. She also said the six counties were chosen for their ability to reach more people.


WHY COMMUNITY SAMPLING?


According to Parson’s plan, the goal of community sampling is to determine the prevalence of COVID-19 in a given area, so officials can gauge how to respond to the virus.


Prevalence refers to the amount of cases that are present in a community at a given date and time.


For example, if there is a low prevalence of the virus in an area, residents can begin to re-engage safely and start to return to normalcy. But if there is a high prevalence, proactive steps will have to be taken to keep the virus from spreading throughout the community.


ARE THE TESTS FREE?


All tests at these events are free to the public. This is made possible by CARES Act funding. Some counties have also elected to provide community sampling using local funding.


HOW DOES THE TEST WORK?


The test administered at community sampling events will determine whether you are positive or negative for active COVID-19.


It is not an antibody test, so it won’t tell you if you’ve already recovered from COVID-19.


Though it varies by county, the majority of testing is drive-through. DHSS requests online pre-registration for an appointment time in order to keep testing and lines running smoothly.


A health professional wearing full personal protection equipment, or PPE, will come to the car window to administer the test.


COVID-19 testing uses the same test procedure as the flu, the nasopharyngeal swab. According to UC Davis Health, the nasal swab is six inches long and looks like a long Q-tip. It’s inserted into the nose to reach the cavity between the nose and mouth, for 15 seconds and rotated several times. The swabbing is repeated on both sides of the nose.


WHERE CAN I GO TO GET TESTED?


Below is a complete list of testing dates and locations throughout Missouri.



Boone County: Monday and Tuesday, 7 a.m.-7 p.m., Hickman High School, Columbia.
Cape Girardeau County:
Greene County: June 4 and 5, 7 a.m.-7 p.m., Ozark Empire Fairgrounds, Springfield.
Jackson County
Jefferson County: Monday and Tuesday, 7 a.m.-7 p.m., Faith Community Church, House Springs; Wednesday, 7 a.m.-7 p.m., Hillsboro Civic Center, Hillsboro.
St. Charles County: Friday and Saturday, 7 a.m.-7 p.m.. The Youth Activity Park, Dardenne Prairie

Some smaller counties are holding similar events using local funding. There will be fewer tests available at these events, and they require residents to pre-register online.



Andrew County: Friday, location and time will be provided at completion of registration
Grundy County: Saturday, location and time will be provided at completion of registration
Pemiscot County: Today and Friday, location and time will be provided at completion of registration.

WHAT ELSE DO I NEED TO KNOW?


If you wish to be tested or are feeling flu-like symptoms, fill out the pre-registration form at tinyurl.com/y8ukkql3 for a testing event in your county or a county near you.


This story was produced by the Missouri Information Corps, a project of the Missouri School of Journalism. Want to share your testing experience with us? Email: moinformationcorps@gmail.com.