As demand for COVID-19 tests continues at record-high levels amid the omicron variant, MU Health Care and Boone Health plan to open new testing sites.
The current MU Health testing site at 2003 W. Broadway, Suite 100, has been open from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The small lobby has often resulted in a line of patients wrapped around the building waiting more than an hour for a test.
The new, larger location inside the east entrance of the Women's Hospital at 404 N. Keene St. will replace the West Broadway location and be available for those with known exposure, mild symptoms or who need a travel test.
Those with COVID-19 symptoms who need to be seen by a medical professional have several alternatives to obtain a test, including contacting their primary care provider; signing up for a virtual visit; or visiting a Mizzou Quick Care or Mizzou Urgent Care location, MU Health said in a news release. Individuals experiencing severe symptoms or breathing problems should go to the emergency department or call 911.
The new site will begin service Tuesday with extended hours, the hospital announced.
The site will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday in addition to 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on weekends.
The location will feature a larger area for an overflow of patients waiting for a test.
"Like many COVID-19 testing sites across sites Missouri, MU Health Care is experiencing a record number of patents requesting COVID-19 testing and seeking treatment for flu-related symptoms," spokesperson Eric Maze wrote Friday afternoon in an email to the Tribune.
MU Health processed 1,504 tests Tuesday. Of those, 577 came back positive. Both numbers represent record highs for a single day, Maze wrote.
"On four different days over the past two weeks, we have had more positive tests than the previous record of 253 positive tests set on Nov. 10, 2020," he wrote.
The length of time the site will be utilized for testing is undetermined, Maze wrote.
No appointment is required, but patients must wear a mask and provide proof of insurance, if insured. There is no cost to the patient.
"While we have plenty of testing supplies, our testing capacity is affected by resource and staffing limitations," Maze wrote Friday. "We are continually assessing volumes and looking for new ways to meet growing patient demands."
Results are delivered within 48 hours on MU Health's patient portal, HEALTHConnect.
Boone Health, meanwhile, is opening a test site Monday in its Nifong Convenient Care Clinic at 900 W. Nifong Blvd., according to a news release Friday afternoon.
The site will be open seven days per week from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Patients must be experiencing symptoms in order to be tested. They will need to provide a photo ID and insurance card, if available.
The new location will not require a provider order, but if a patient has a provider order, they are able to visit any lab services location. Patients who have a lab order for tests in addition to a COVID-19 test must visit one of the lab locations.
Patients will be required to wear a medical-grade mask, which will be provided, and must maintain social distance at all times, the release stated.
Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services reported 408 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday after a record 758 cases on Thursday.
There are 3,261 active cases in Boone County.
A total of 161 patients are in Boone County hospitals with COVID-related complications, of which 34 are in intensive care units; 22 are on ventilators; and 12 are county residents.
This article originally appeared on Columbia Daily Tribune: MU Health Care, Boone Health to open new COVID-19 test sites