May 22, 2020 4:52 PM

Local health director addresses questions about COVID-19 test availability

Posted May 22, 2020 4:52 PM

by Sarah Thomack

St. Joseph Post

St. Joseph Health Department Director Debra Bradley, in a city council work session Thursday, addressed COVID-19 testing questions and concerns from council members and the public.

Bradley says the cost of tests leftover from the recent community testing clinic will be covered by the state only if used for community testing.

"We’re running it through a commercial lab, but it’s on the state contract so the state will pay for it. So they’re restricting us to just using it out in the community."

Bradley says, as of right now, individuals are not tested unless they show symptoms.

"If your own provider agrees to test you or if you go to one of the testing sites and convince them, then you can, but most people who are asymptomatic don’t get tested unless it’s through a community testing event."

Bradley says they hope to apply for some of the funds Buchanan County received through the CARES Act. Bradley says if they receive money from the county, they could get resources to help with expanding contact tracing and buy their own test kits. 

"We can test anyone at that point, anywhere,” Bradley says. “Also the governor and the state health director are committed to testing, if, either an employee or a person at a nursing home or any other kind of long term care facility, tests positive, then they will send in the test kits to test everybody at that location.”

Governor Mike Parson announced Thursday a plan to increase COVID-19 testing volume to 7,500 tests per day in Missouri. According to a press release, the plan will focus on "box-in outbreaks, sentinel testing, and community sampling."