The City of Joplin with the Jasper County Health Department are offering free COVID-19 tests to any Missouri resident October 16 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Missouri Southern State University. Residents must register online in order to get tested; those who need assistance registering may call 877-435-8411.
There is no cost to the city or county for the tests. Ryan Talke, Joplin Health Department direct, said the tests are a provided by the state of Missouri.
“There was a request that came in from the state of Missouri inquiring if we would accept the testing, and of course we will,” Talken said. “We’re always wanting to increase our testing capacity within the city of Joplin. …”
The tests will be self-administered, though trained personnel will be available for assistance and to provide instruction. These PCR self-administered tests are different then the nasopharyngeal tests, as, while they are still through the nasal cavity, they are shallower. The tests are only testing for COVID-19.
“… Our COVID numbers … they were high, we had a couple days in there where they started to look like they were going to go in a positive direction with our case counts being lower, but really the last couple days our case counts have come back up again,” Talken said. “So, anything we can do to increase our testing capacity we are all for it.”
The National Guard will set up the site for the testing and it will act as a drive-through site. Talken said the previous time they held testing it was over a two-day weekend instead of only a Friday, that this “could have an impact to the number of participants.” Talken said last time there was a maximum amount of people who could get tested, but that number was “pretty high” and they had no issues exceeding it.
“Testing, we get a lot of phone calls every day of individuals seeking testing, and due to the amount of demand on testing sometimes it can be a bit of a challenge to find a place to get a test in a timely manner,” Talken said. “With this it comes at a really good time where our case counts are high, they’re continuing to be high, so it’s kind of a supply-demand type of situation. There’s a lot of demand for testing right now, so the increase in supply will be a great benefit.”
Talken said that individuals who get tested need to stay home until they receive their results. The National Guard will contact individuals directly with their results.
“Thank you … to Missouri Southern State University for agreeing to host this site,” Talken said. “It’s a great benefit to the community and we appreciate their partnership.”