Columbia doctor offers free referrals for COVID-19 tests

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COLUMBIA - Assistance is available for any symptomatic people needing a COVID-19 test.

Anyone wanting to get tested at the Mizzou North, MU Softball Field, or MU Student Health testing locations need to be showing symptoms and have a doctor's referral.

Boone Hospital Center also has a similar policy.

Any primary care provider could provide a referral. MU Telehealth visits are also an option, but could cost up to $59 for a visit, according to MU Health Care's website.

A Columbia family doctor is offering free referrals for testing through an online form and virtual visit.

"I want to do all I can to help...The situation in Columbia and Boone County has changed over the last month. We have gone from what was a smoldering situation to something that has really caught fire," Dr. Elizabeth Allemann said.

Dr. Allemann provides the referral that is delivered straight to the testing site of choice. When a lab determines the test is positive, the result goes back Dr. Allemann's office, that's where she said having a reputable referral is important.

"I call the person and let them know what their result is and offer guidance for people that are positive since the health department is so far behind on being able to that important part of the work," she said.

MU Health Care reiterated its referral policy on Friday. They say it's important to conserve limited testing resources to only those that need it. Dr. Allemann agrees, so a referral won't be made to just anyone.

Patients must still exhibit symptoms such as:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Muscle pain or body aches
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Loss of taste or smell

Her practice has done about 300 referrals so far, but Dr. Allemann said getting a test and a negative result doesn't mean people are totally in the clear.

"It would make the pandemic so much easier if there was a way for people to do these higher-risk behaviors whether for work or recreation or activism and then still [interact] with vulnerable people...but testing just isn't designed for that, it only shows a snapshot in time," she said.

MU Health Care also offers a free nurse assessment line for MU students at 573-884-0948. It operates 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturdays and Labor Day.

While testing is free for anyone without health insurance, a free community testing event will be hosted on Friday in Columbia from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 3501 Berrywood Drive. No doctor's order is needed, but pre-registration is required at CompassHealthNetwork.org.

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