Mercy Testing Site

City of Washington crews have been working on getting the fairgrounds ready to be a coronavirus testing site. Mercy Hospital Washington got permission from the city to conduct COVID-19 tests at the site. The first aid building will be the home base for Mercy. The site is scheduled to open Monday.  Missourian Photo.

The more testing conducted, the more potential for new cases of the coronavirus in Franklin County.

Presiding Commissioner Tim Brinker announced Tuesday a testing site will be set up locally for anyone who would like to be tested for the virus.

“It will be sometime between June 9 and the 22nd,” Brinker said. “We have asked to use the Washington Fairgrounds or a Mercy location in Union near East Central College. We are trying to give the state a few different options to choose from.”

The decision to bring the testing site to Franklin County was decided during one of the weekly calls between county officials, Gov. Mike Parson and Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) Director Dr. Randall Williams late last week.

At its meeting Monday night, the Washington City Council gave verbal support to allowing the use of the fairgrounds as a testing location again.

In late March the fairgrounds were used by Mercy Hospital to conduct drive-thru testing, but very strict criteria for patients had to be met to be eligible for the test.

Testing

According to DHSS, community testing allows for any individual to be tested, regardless of symptoms, at no cost and no billing of insurance.

Currently, DHSS has the assistance of the Missouri National Guard, which is setting up the drive-thru testing sites and also supporting the entire testing initiative on-site.

Planning, registering, promoting the testing events and contacting the individuals with their results will be done by DHSS staff.

In selecting test sites, DHSS is looking at data that identifies counties with deficient testing based on a formula looking at total testing for the county based on the total desired due to the number of confirmed cases in the county.

Franklin County was selected because it has been identified through this data analysis.

The number of tests offered in Franklin County and the time of the events are dependent on the size of the county.

Locations

The only commitment from the county is to find a location to host the testing without any charge to the state.

The ideal location has a large parking lot (for routing lanes and setting up drive-thru tents) and a facility on the grounds which allows for hand-washing and restroom use of the guardsmen and -women working at the testing event.

The state is asking the county health department for assistance in promoting the event through local connections and usual public information relationships.  

Statewide

Thus far during the pandemic, 199,435 Missouri residents have been tested with 13,054 positive cases.

In Franklin County 2,353 people have been tested with 141 positive results.