Gov. Parson announces goal of 7,500 tests over next two weeks

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JEFFERSON CITY - Gov. Parson announced the goal of 7,500 tests over the next two weeks during his press conference on Thursday. 

He said there are three areas to work on to reach the goal: box-in testing, sentinel testing and community sampling.

Parson said the goal of box-in testing is to go into high-risk, long-term care facilities that have had at least one positive case of COVID-19 and test the entire facility. There are 163 facilities that have had a positive case, whether it is a resident, a staff member or both, according to Parson. Parson's goal is to perform about 1,850 tests per day with this strategy. 

Sentinel testing would focus on testing at state-owned facilities across 28 counties. This would include facilities overseen by the Department of Corrections, Department of Social Services and the Missouri Veterans Commission. This area of testing will be able to identify and isolate symptomatic and asymptomatic people to keep the virus from unknowingly spreading. Parson's goal is to perform about 1,440 tests per day over a 10-day period with this strategy. 

The third strategy is community sampling, which will set up testing sites across the state and anyone who wants to be tested can get tested. This strategy is already in place in 13 counties and six additional counties will be targeted over the next 10 days. Parson's goal with this strategy is to perform about 975 tests per day over the next 10 days. 

Gov. Parson said the plan is based on what we can do at a state level to help jumpstart testing. Hospitals and health care facilities will continue normal testing operations. 

Gov.Parson said the community testing will give a better idea for the prevalence of COVID-19 in a particular area. If the prevalence is low, it will reassure people and businesses that they can begin to more normal operations. If the prevalence is high, they can keep the virus from spreading in the community. 

Gov.Parson said he wanted the community to know that just because they come to do testing in a community, it does not mean there has been a spike or outbreak in the area. 

Gov. Parson also said the state has delivered 9,000 tests to the St. Louis task force region and an additional 9,000 will be delivered next week to continue broad community sampling.

With Memorial Day weekend on the horizon, Gov. Parson said that he wants everyone to enjoy the holiday, but we cannot let our guard down. He said that social distance should be a priority, holiday or no holiday. 

Click here to watch Gov. Parson's full press conference