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COVID-19 testing expands in Mid-Missouri


Two major Columbia medical providers are opening new coronavirus testing sites this week as demand for COVID-19 screenings surges along with new cases.

Boone Health on Monday opened a new testing site at its convenient care location at 900 W. Nifong Blvd. This comes as there are a record 3,261 active COVID-19 cases in Boone County.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services reported 59,284 new cases over the last week -- a 9.8% change. More than 184,000 new tests have been administered in Missouri in the last week, the state says.

Demand for tests in Missouri has dipped slightly this month, according to Johns Hopkins University, but remains well above its levels in early December, before the more transmissible omicron variant became dominant in many areas of the state.

About a third of Missouri's tests have been yielding positive results, according to the state health department. The current testing turnaround time is 1.6 days in Missouri, the department reports.

Boone Health's new COVID-19 testing site will administer tests seven days a week from 11 a.m to 6 p.m. It's the first mass testing site the hospital has set up since the early days of the pandemic.

Patients will need to be experiencing symptoms to get tested. Patients will also need to bring a photo ID and an insurance card, if available.

Individuals will be required to wear a medical-grade mask. Boone Health will provide them at the site for those who don't have medical-grade masks.

MU Health Care is expanding its testing this week by opening a larger site at Women's Hospital on Keene Street. MU Health has operated a testing site in a Broadway office building for several months. Long lines have formed at that site in recent weeks and MU Health says the Keene site will allow more tests to be conducted.

The site will open Tuesday and be open on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on weekends from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The Biden Administration is taking steps to free up the test supply and create incentives for people to test themselves. Among them is requiring insurers to cover at-home tests.

Under the new federal requirement, one person can get up to eight tests covered a month. A family of five can get up to 40 tests reimbursed under this plan. How you go about getting that reimbursement can vary.

Anthony Desha owner of Flow's Pharmacy says, "Some insurances are gonna want you to send them a receipt then they'll reimburse you via checks like some kind of gift card or something."

Each insurance company could go about the reimbursement differently.

"Some insurances are having us run them through at the point of sale and then we'll bill your insurance," Desha said.

Now, if you are under medicare you cannot get reimbursed for a test.

Desha said, "they're not gonna get reimbursed for a test, they will still have to go get a test with a prescription at like at Mizzou testing or Boone Convenient Care."

To learn more about how to go about getting you at-home COVID-19 test reimbursed you will need to contact your insurance provider.

The White House is gearing up to make testing more accessible nationwide. This Wednesday The Biden Administration will launch a new website where Americans can order free at-home COVID tests kits.

The administration purchased 500 million tests last month.

The White House has officially reached a deal with the U.S Postal Service to distribute the tests, once a person orders a test, the test will be mailed within seven to 12 days.

The administration also ordered an additional 500 million at-home tests amid the shortage or tests nationwide that has led to long lines at testing locations.

Article Topic Follows: Coronavirus

Erika McGuire


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