With the holidays, rising case rates, and a surge of the omicron variant across the state, many Missourians are searching for COVID-19 tests — though it may be difficult to get one.
Other states warned of testing shortages in recent weeks, while local health departments in Missouri are sending patients to private businesses for testing. Despite President Joe Biden’s warnings of a nationwide testing shortage this week, Gov. Mike Parson said Missouri still had a bountiful supply available.
“The state of Missouri is not short on tests. You may have a problem getting one because of the lines, because of staffing issues and things like that, but there’s no shortage of tests in this state,” Parson told reporters Wednesday. “We’ve stockpiled tests, and we still have those, and we’re going to utilize them.”
Here’s a look at where COVID-19 tests, including free options sponsored by the state and federal government, are available in Missouri.
Drive-through testing events
The Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) offers free drive-through testing events regularly across Missouri.
St. Louis area residents can take drive-through tests between Monday-Saturday at different locations, an option available to those in the Kansas City area every day except Tuesdays. Both areas’ testing sites are closed for the New Years holiday.
Southwest Missourians have the opportunity in Marshfield, Joplin, and Springfield from Monday-Friday.
Dates vary in other parts of the state: Mid-Missouri residents will have the chance for tests on Jan. 9 and 23 in Jefferson City. Individuals in the southeast portion of the state can get tested every Wednesday in Park Hills and on Jan. 2 and 16 in Cape Girardeau.
Northwest Missourians can receive tests on Jan. 5 in Albany and Jan. 11 in Stewartsville. No drive-through testing events are currently scheduled for the northeast portion of the state, according to DHSS.
Check testing sites and dates here.
At-home testing kits
DHSS allows Missourians to order an at-home testing kit for free through Picture by Fulgent Genetics. Individuals using this option receive a testing kit good for six months within two days of ordering. Once the swab sample is collected, kits must be returned to a FedEx site within 24 hours.
Kits are shipped to a lab overnight for testing, and participants receive their results via email. Shipping delays could void the test, Fulgent warned.
The monthly order limit of free tests through the DHSS program was reached Thursday, according to Fulgent’s website. Free tests will be available to order on Jan. 1, while tests can still be purchased at full price.
Order an at-home testing kit here.
The federal government partnered with several pharmacy chains to offer free testing options as well. Participating chains include Hy-Vee Pharmacy, Price Cutter Pharmacy, Walgreens, CVS, and Sam’s Health Mart. Missourians can also search the web by zip code to locate testing sites, though some chains are facing high demand and short supply. Individuals must register for and schedule pharmacy tests.
Search for pharmacy locations here.
Missouri reported its first case of the omicron variant in St. Louis earlier this month. The variant was identified in more than half of the communities chosen for sewershed testing by DHSS the week of Dec. 20.
More than 64 percent of the state’s eligible population has received at least an initial dose of the vaccine, and 57 percent have been fully inoculated.
This story has been updated with information on the ordering limit for free at-home tests.
Cameron Gerber studied journalism at Lincoln University. Prior to Lincoln, he earned an associate’s degree from State Fair Community College. Cameron is a native of Eldon, Missouri.
Contact Cameron at email@example.com.