Mobile COVID-19 testing

Mercy Hospital St. Louis set up a mobile COVID-19 testing station last weekend on the grounds of Mercy Virtual Care, located at 15740 South Outer 40 Road in Chesterfield. While they stay in their vehicles, nurses wearing protective gear swab pre-screened patients who may be infected with the new coronavirus.

Call first.

That’s the message St. Louis County Executive Director Sam Page wants to get out to the public. Testing has expanded in St. Louis County and in other areas as the state has slightly broadened the rules for who can get tested, more aligned with the Centers for Disease Control guidance that leaves it to medical professionals to decide who needs a test. The state is also working with the University of Missouri to expand testing capabilities and Washington University is also working to increase testing capacity.

Page said he meets with the leadership of the major hospitals once or twice a week, to make sure he understands what is happening with the hospital systems and the medical community’s response to COVID-19, and they are working well together.

“They have kept their commitment to me to make sure that the access to testing is equally distributed across the county,” Page said.

The County’s first testing site was set up in West County and a few days later, it had testing sites all over the county, he said.

“We’ve had a testing site at Christian Northeast now for some time, although it’s not widely known in the community,” Page said. “DePaul also has testing centers all over the community and private testing companies like Quest and LabCorp are also testing,” as well as some urgent care centers.

“These are not walk-in sites,” Page said.

“The problem with testing is that there are restrictions, so not everyone who would like a test can get one because of the restrictions placed by the federal government.”

If someone wants a test, Page said it’s important that they first call one of these numbers:

North County: 314-653-5000

Mid County: 314-747-3000

West County: 314-251-0500

South County: 314-966-9666

“It’s important to call the phone number and get instructions on what to do if you believe you need the test than to drive to the testing center and ask for one,” Page stressed. “And that’s important because if you don’t need a test, you don’t want to be around people who are waiting to get a test, because you’ll get sick from them.”

He said before you go to a testing center, make certain you actually need to be there.

“And if you are short of breath or feel like you have a medical emergency, certainly you should call 911 or go to an emergency room,” Page said.

“Most patients who have a dry cough and a fever can be managed outside of a hospital setting, and that’s what we would like to do to keep this from spreading to other people, but also to manage people in the best environment for them.”

The St. Louis American is a black-owned, mission-driven news organization. We use the tools of journalism to inform, educate, inspire, empower and defend the black community in the St. Louis region.

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