22 tested in drive-thru’s first week

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

All tests negative; all Barry County positives recovered

In its first week in operation, the drive-thru testing option at the Barry County Health Department tested 22 people, none of whom returned a positive result.

Roger Brock, Health Department administrator, said the process worked well.

“We tested more on Wednesday and Thursday than we did Tuesday,” he said. “We know the numbers will be lower starting out, and [on Monday] we started scheduling for this week. Everything flowed well, and we got to see if we needed to make adjustments, but it all went all right.

“If you or a loved one have mild respiratory symptoms suggesting coronavirus (COVID-19), such as a cough, low-grade fever or mild respiratory problems, please contact your primary care physician or contact us at the Barry County Health Department at 417-847-2114 to determine if you need a COVID-19 test. The Barry County Health Department is focused on supporting our residents as we respond to the spread of COVID-19 in every way we can.”

Brock said the test is a general nasal swab, not as evasive as the swabs that are pushed into the nasopharynx, which connects the back of the throat to the nasal cavity.

Brock said people who believe they need tested will still have to set up an appointment.

“People still need to call ahead and have a consultation with one of our nurses,” he said.

The only cost associated with the test is a $10 fee, as there is no insurance billing involved with the testing. Brock said the fee covers extra protective supplies purchased by the Health Department, like gowns.

COVID-19 cases and impacts

Statewide, Missouri on Monday had 8,386 cases and 352 deaths. St. Louis County and St. Louis City have the most cases, with 3,325 and 1,242, respectively.

Countywide, Barry County has had seven cases of COVID-19, five confirmed, one presumptive positive and one positive from an antibody test. All seven are recovered and no longer quarantined. There are still five close contacts that are in quarantine, and they should be released this week.

The state’s stay-at-home order, lifted on Monday, had an effect on local businesses. Barry County’s unemployment rate in February was at 4.3 percent, and by March, it reached 6.1 percent, the highest unemployment rate since February 2015’s rate of 6.6 percent.

According to Google user data, retail and recreation time spent was down 32 percent in mid-April, climbing each week from being down 18 percent in late March.

Grocery and pharmacy visits were up 19 percent at the end of March, remaining 10 percent higher in mid-April.

Workplace figures have remained steady, down 23-26 percent in recent weeks, and residential stay is up 11 percent as of mid-April.

The emergency declaration in effect in Barry County from May4-30 authorizes the reopening of businesses pursuant to certain restrictions, such as social distancing, maximum building occupancy, source control masking and enhanced cleaning requirements.

To qualify for testing, a person must be a close contact (being with 6 feet) of someone who has tested positive; be a first responder; be patient or resident at assisted living facility at high risk; be hospitalized; be at high risk due to other health issues; or show at least two symptoms of COVID-19. Symptoms include: cough, shortness of breath, fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat or new loss of taste or smell.

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