DHSS releases results of COVID-19 testing held in southwest Missouri

Thursday, July 9, 2020

8 out of 259 Barry County residents positive at National Guard test site

Specific results have been announced for the free drive-through community testing events from June 26-30 in the counties of McDonald, Jasper, Newton and Barry.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and the Missouri National Guard partnered with local public health agencies to offer the events, which open to any Missouri resident — county residency was not required.

Of the 2,195 individuals residing in these four counties and tested during these events, 197 tested positive for COVID-19, an 8.97 percent positivity rate.  

According to Lisa Cox, communications director with DHSS, 259 Barry County residents were tested, with eight yielding positive results, a 3.09 percent positivity rate.

As of now, up to 50 Missouri counties have participated in community testing events, which has allowed public health officials to learn more about COVID-19 transmission. It is expected that those four southwest Missouri counties will participate in another round of community testing events beginning on July 18. 

“We continue to appreciate the many people choosing to get tested, and we are grateful for our partners with the Missouri National Guard and local public health agencies for making these events so user-friendly,” said Dr. Randall Williams, director of DHSS. “Gov. Parson has made it a priority among all of us in state government to provide greater access to testing for Missourians, and that is exactly what these events do.”

Significant growth of COVID-19 cases in southwest Missouri has been monitored since mid-June by health officials. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), DHSS and local public health agencies in the counties of McDonald, Jasper, Newton and Barry, and the city of Joplin, have worked jointly to conduct epidemiological investigation in the area.

Some clusters in the area have been linked to essential workers of food processing plants where the “box in” public health strategy was used to limit further spread of the virus. This approach involves comprehensive testing, isolating all infected people, locating all contacts of the infected people, and having those contacts self-quarantine for 14 days. 

To register for community testing events in Missouri, visit health.mo.gov/communitytest or call 877-435-8411. Translation services are available. Additional events being held in southwest Missouri will be added to the registration site in the coming days.

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