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Community COVID-19 testing complete

Angie Talken
atalken@chillicothenews.com

One-hundred and fifteen Livingston County residents received COVID-19 testing at a drive-up clinic at the Livingston County Health Center on Wednesday.

Testing was funded by CARES ACT funding through the Livingston County Commission, Ann Burchett, public information supervisor with the health department said.

Those tested on Wednesday were tested for an active case of COVID-19. Burchett explained the difference between testing for an active case and testing for past exposure to the virus.

“This was PCR testing: a PCR test looks for the viral RNA in the nose, throat, or other

areas in the respiratory tract to determine if there is an active infection with SARS-CoV-

2, the virus that causes COVID-19,” she said. “A positive PCR test means that the person has an active COVID-19 infection.”

A serology or anti-body tests, tests for past exposure to the virus. There has been one positive antibody test on the county, Burchett said 128 have been completed.

Burchett said the purpose of the testing is to see if the virus is active in the county.

“The idea behind community PCR testing is to identify active cases of COVID-19, so they can be isolated as soon as possible. Since many people have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all, we offered testing to anyone who registered to identify those cases as soon as possible,” she said. “If cases were to spike, that would just show the virus is active in our county. We want the best possible picture to plan for our response.”

There may be an opportunity for another round of community testing in July and the health center plans to do another serology testing in July also. Burchett noted, the center wants to save funds for community testing, should it be needed later this year.

“Since we anticipate the possibility of a second wave of COVID-19 this fall, we would like to reserve CARES ACT funding for that round of testing,” she said. “However, if there is enough

public interest in PCR testing, we may offer another opportunity this summer.”

Those who took part int he Wednesday testing will be called with their results.

The health center is conducting a survey regarding future COVID-19 testing through its Facebook page (Livingston County Health Center) and website at www.livcohealthcenter.com for county residents to provide their input.

As of Friday morning, there were six cases of COVID-19 in Livingston County, with only two active; and 16,908 in Missouri with 946 deaths.

The health center urges the public to continue to take appropriate precautions including good hygiene, social distancing and limiting in-person interactions. If you are sick, particularly with a fever and a cough, or shortness of breath, stay home and contact your health care provider or urgent care center for guidance regarding symptoms and next steps.

For more information, visit the DHSS website at www.health.mo.gov/coronavirus or the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus. A statewide COVID-19 hotline also operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 877-435-8411.

All of the Constitution-Tribune’s COVID-19 coverage is being provided free to our readers. Please consider supporting local journalism by subscribing to the C-T at www.chillicothenews.com/subscribenow to help keep local businesses afloat at supportlocal.usatoday.com.