(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Local COVID-19 testing continues into the new year.
Northwest Health Services held another community testing event Tuesday in St. Joseph. The event is a part of a statewide effort to see how widespread COVID-19 is, specifically how high the positivity rate is throughout the state.
“Those help to guide policy for the state and local communities on how long they are going to continue mask mandates or when they are going to start opening up for large gatherings. All of that depends on the positivity rate,” said Steven Brushwood, Chief Medical Officer for Northwest Health Services.
As of Tuesday, Buchanan County's positivity rate is 14.05%.
Brushwood said they have seen shorter lines at community testing events. Not because people have stopped getting tested, but because there's more widespread testing available. He said COVID-19 test results arrive quicker as well, two days rather than two weeks.
COVID-19 vaccines are rolling out, but they're rolling out slow. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services disclaiming on their recent COVID vaccine map that "the state of Missouri is still experiencing an exceptionally limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines."
Until more people receive their two-dose vaccine, Brushwood said testing remains important in the fight against COVID-19.
"It really helps," said Brushwood.
One resident waiting in line to receive their first COVID-19 nasal swab test, Tabitha Maxwell. She said while she was nervous for the test, she wanted to do it for herself and her pregnant daughter, who recently contracted the virus.
“I’ve had a cough for a while and I just want to make sure that I don’t actually have it," said Maxwell, “I would say everyone should no matter if they have symptoms or not.”
Northwest Health Services has three more community testing events in January. Click here for those upcoming dates, locations and times.
Residents must pre-register for the free COVID-19 test, click here to register.