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New COVID-19 test coming to Missouri

A new COVID-19 test is coming to Missouri that health experts say will make it faster, easier and more convenient.

Posted: Oct 16, 2020 4:12 PM

(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) A new COVID-19 test is coming to Missouri that health experts say will make it faster, easier and more convenient.

The announcement was made in Kansas City Thursday morning at Truman Medical Center and those fighting the spread of the coronavirus say this will be an important, new tool for them to employ to fight the virus.

There’s a new technology that health experts say could be a game changer in fighting COVID-19.

A new test will soon be available, one that doesn't involve poking a swab up a patient's nose.

"The technology that this test uses utilizes saliva for the testing. That'll be much different than our current process where we have to do nasal swabs. This will be much more patient friendly,” Truman Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Mark Steele said.

Dr. Steele says the new technology means in addition to being more convenient, labs will be able to process thousands of more tests much more rapidly.

"Obviously, the more testing we do, the earlier we can catch people with COVID and get them appropriately isolated and then do contact tracing,” Dr. Steele said.

The new test will need a special machine to evaluate the saliva for the coronavirus.

The technology was developed at Washington University in St. Louis and four such machines are planned to be deployed across the state over the next several weeks.

"As we head into the fall, we're redoubling and accelerating our efforts to expand access to testing in the state,” Missouri State Medicaid Director Todd Richardson said.

In Missouri, where once only 2,000 tests were being analyzed per week, the state is now at 125,000 per week and primed to go much higher.

“I think we'll be in every school system in the next two weeks,” Governor Mike Parson said. “Every school system in Missouri will have the ability to do tests internally.

Parson says this is another way to show that Missouri has been ahead of the curve in fighting the coronavirus.

"I think that Missouri, compared to other states, we've been on the front lines from day one and doing the best that we can to take care of people and we're going to continue to do that," Parson said. 

One of the testing machines will be located at Truman Medical Center, the other three locations for the remaining machines have not been announced yet.

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