Coronavirus drive-thru testing open in Joplin

Quinten Sargent

In partnership with City of Joplin officials, Freeman Health Systems and Mercy Hospital have created a COVID-19 call center open to the community, as well as a drive-thru testing location.  

The drive-thru testing site is located at the Thousand Oaks Imagining Center on 1905 West 32nd Street. It is the designated location to carryout COVID-19 testing in our community as health officials continue to work for the wellbeing of those who have come in contact with the virus, but also those who haven’t. 

“This drive-through model has worked in many other communities and efficiently assesses people while preserving the safety of others and that of our wonderful health care professionals who will be administering these tests. We hope that having a dedicated testing location will be a positive service to the community,” said Tracy Godfrey, president of Mercy Clinic Joplin, and Jeremy Drinkwitz, president of Mercy Hospital Joplin, in a joint statement. 

Before drive thru tests are administered, patients must be screened using the CVOID CALL CENTER which can be reached at 417-347-6444 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Health experts believe some questions asked on the phone screening consist of, “Is your temperature 100.4?” Or, “Have you traveled outside of the region?” 

Following the phone screening, health officials will determine whether you are a candidate for testing or not. If you are asked to proceed with testing, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention will require you to complete a Person Under Investigation case report form before health officials can order the test and schedule an appointment for drive-thru testing. 

The drive-thru testing sites, commonplace around the country, allow you to get tested for COVID-19 without getting out of your car to minimize all risk factors.  

According to the news release, sent out informing community members of this newly developed testing site, results may take up to several days and its costs are still unknown. As is whether commercial insurance or government funding will offset costs. 

Julie Stamps, Family Nurse Practitioner at the Willcoxon Health Center located on Missouri Southern’s campus, believes that this is an important resource to our community but is still a very exclusive process. 

“I think this is a great resource for our community, however, you still have to qualify for testing,” said Stamps. 

So, if somebody just wants to get tested, they’re having no symptoms, they haven’t traveled, and they’re having no problems, they’re still not going to be able to receive testing because it doesn’t meet the criteria. As far as doing a service to patients, I think it’s a wonderful idea,” said Stamps. 

Stamps agrees with major health officials that the situation is ongoing and continually changes. If you think you have been in contact with COVID-19 or have been feeling under the weather– stay home. 

“If you have a fever, a cough that’s dry, shortness of breath, we don’t want you out in the community. You need to be home taking care of yourself,” said Stamps.