Hundreds go through drive-thru, COVID-19 testing at Hickman High School

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COLUMBIA— COVID-19 drive-thru testing is taking place at Hickman High School today and tomorrow between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. The Boone County Health Department assisted the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and Missouri's National Guard in the effort to expand testing.

While most testing centers around the state require a doctor’s referral determined by symptoms, the only necessary step to get tested at Hickman is a sign-up — no symptoms needed.

“We think that gives us a very different snapshot than people who are just symptomatic or who go to the doctor," Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services director Dr. Randall Williams said. "These are people who are motivated for whatever reason to come over here and register.”

The testing is part of Gov. Mike Parson's plan to reach 7,500 tests per day statewide.

So far, the nearly 1,000 time slots are full. DHSS planned to test about 500 people each day. However, they increased it to 650 each day because so many people signed up.

Now there, is a wait list to sign up, and anyone can drop by tomorrow to see if there have been any cancellations or call (877) 435–8411.

“As we are doing more of these tests, we’re seeing the percentage that are actually positive go down," Dr. Williams said. "And that gives us more reassurance as we open up and transition that we do not have widespread community transition.”

One woman who got tested at Hickman High School today said it took her about 20 minutes to get through the process. Julia Seitz is a local real estate agent and thought it was her civic duty to get tested.

“I come in and out of people’s homes," Seitz said. "And although I take all the precautions, sometimes even more than I need to, my biggest fear would just be that I would create a situation for where someone maybe at risk were to get sick as a result of me.”

DHSS is partnering with the Missouri National Guard, local health departments, and health care providers to set up several non-referral required testing centers across the state.

So far, there's been centers set up in 12 counties, and they are working through another six.

A full list of the drive-thru sites can be found at DHSS's community testing sign-up online.

The test is a PCR test done by a nasopharyngeal swab. It tests for active infection with SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus that causes COVID-19.