Joplin Hospitals, City and County Health Departments open first drive-through COVID-19 testing site

Freeman Health Systems, Mercy Joplin, City/County Health Departments partner to open site, will operate by appointment only
Drive Thru Site

JOPLIN, Mo.- The first drive-through test collection site for COVID-19 in Joplin is now open thanks to a partnership between Freeman Health System, Mercy Joplin, and City and County health departments.

“I hope that makes people feel that reassurance that their symptoms are being listened to and they can get that test if they need it, so that they can begin treatment” said President and CEO of Freeman Health System, Paula Baker.

The site will be located at the Thousand Oaks Imaging Center on West 32nd Street in Joplin.

Testing is by appointment only. You must call the call center at 417-347-6444 and meet certain criteria to be approved for an appointment at the drive-through site.

“100.4 temperature, that’s one of the prime symptoms of this, dry cough is what a high percentage of individuals will have and then eventually if the symptoms progress it could lead to a shortness of breath…and additionally if you believe you’ve been exposed to a positive case if you have reason to believe that and also if you’ve traveled to an area with large outbreaks” said Director of the Joplin City Health Department, Dan Pekarek.

At the site, you must have your ID ready to go, health care workers will then take your temperature and if your temperature has gone down at that time, you may be denied the test on site. A nasal swab that goes into the back of your throat will be conducted in both nostrils. Results from the test may take several days.

“Anybody who comes to the testing center never gets out of the car, our health care professionals will come to them and swab them while they’re in their vehicle” added Baker.

The testing site will be open from 2 P.M. to 6 P.M. on Tuesdays and Thursdays and they will only process 20 tests per day because of limited testing resources.

“Hopefully we can expand that as most tests become available, the state is working on it, we, Mercy, is working on it, federal is working on it, but that’s the biggest challenge for us right now in the healthcare system” said President of Mercy Hospital Joplin, Jeremy Drinkwitz.

Officials say this is a step in the right direction and will provide a safer testing environment for everyone.

“We don’t want people who might have COVID-19 coming into our facilities where other people could be affected by it, so this drive through facility really ensures the safety of staff and others in the community” added Baker.

There will be a cost associated with the testing, it is not known if commercial insurance or government funding will cover any costs.
Again, the number for the call center is 417-347-6444.