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As Missouri COVID-19 testing doubles, positive case count growth outpaces

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ABC 17 News
A tent covers an MU Health Care COVID-19 testing site.


The number of tests done to detect COVID-19 in Missouri doubled over the last week, but positive cases increased at a greater rate.

An analysis done by ABC 17 News of state data shows that testing increased by 155 percent from March 29 to April 6. The state had completed 12,385 tests as of March 29. That number increased to 31,654 on April 6. In the same time period, positive cases went from 903 to 2,722, amounting to a 201% increase.

Health leaders have highlighted the importance of increased testing in being able to contain the spread of the virus. Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Director Randall Williams said he expected to see case numbers grow as testing increased.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, a leader at the National Institute of Health, said a "robust system" to identify patients "prevents you from ever having to get into mitigation." The country of Iceland has tested 17,900 people, about 5 percent of its population, to figure out who should stay in quarantine. The country also decided to test people who did not show symptoms.

About 13% of tests done in the state came from two Columbia hospitals. MU Health Care and Boone Hospital Center reported 3,087 and 811 tests done there respectively from March 29 to April 5. MU Health Care's testing numbers increased by 42% and Boone Hospital Center's test numbers increased by 44%.

Missouri's statewide test numbers have roughly kept up with tests done in similar-sized states. Wisconsin reported 29,014 tests done as of April 6. Maryland reported 29,174 people tested. While all three states have tested about the percentage of the state's population, the groups combined would amount to Missouri's eighth-largest city.

The COVID Tracking Project estimates that 1.9 million people have been tested for COVID-19 in the United States.

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Lucas Geisler

Lucas Geisler anchors the 5 p.m. show for ABC 17 News and reports on the latest news around mid-Missouri at 9 and 10 p.m.


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