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MU drive-thru sites open on Labor Day due to increased demand for COVID-19 testing


MU Health Care plans to have its drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites open on Labor Day to help keep up with the increased demand.

As of Friday, nearly 3,000 tests have been done at both the Hearnes Center and Mizzou North sites this week.

The site near the Hearnes Center reopened this week because of an increased demand for testing.

Jesslyn Chew, an MU Health Care spokeswoman said that the demand is also why it decided to have both sites open Monday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

“Typically Mondays are our busiest days," Chew said. "And so even though it's a holiday, and we needed to do modifier hours, do modified hours we thought it was important to still have an option, even if it was for part of the day.”

Chew said the testing sites have seen an increased demand since the students returned to Columbia.

Chew said on Monday both drive-thru sites combined did about 650 tests. On Tuesday, about 640, Wednesday nearly 500, Thursday about 650 and Friday almost 400 tests.

Due to that high demand, the Columbia/Boone County Health Department is five days behind in telling those who have been tested their results, which has also caused another obstacle.

Scott Clardy, the Columbia/Boone County Health Department assistant director said the goal is to get in contact with those who have been considered a close contact within 24 hours.

"That's about... six days or so into it," Clardy said. "Because it takes too long to get a hold of the other people who are sick to begin with.”

Clardy said its very important for people who are considered close contacts to wait seven to nine days before getting tested, because that gives the virus time to show up in your system.

If you get tested before then, your test result could be a false negative. 

"It has to multiply enough," Clardy said. "And the test will actually see it and detect it."

Clardy said if a close contact gets tested before the suggested time frame after the last known contact with the positive case, then health officials will ask them to go back and get tested again, seven to nine days later.

Clardy said isolating after getting tested until you get your results is critical in preventing the spread of the virus, but if you at any time experience COVID-19 symptoms you should not wait and get tested right away. 

Chew said people who want to get tested at either of MU Health Care’s drive-thru testing sites must have a doctor's order.

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Amber Tabeling

Amber joined the ABC 17 News team as a multimedia journalist in December 2019. She was a student-athlete at Parkland College and Missouri Valley College. She hails from a small town in Illinois.


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