Why at-home testing not included in Springfield-Greene County Health Department’s COVID-19 cases

Published: Jun. 15, 2022 at 10:04 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - COVID-19 is spreading within our community.

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department reports 64 new daily cases over the last seven days. Many people may be using the free at-home test kits these days.

Health department director Katie Towns encourages you to report a positive COVID-19 test from an at-home test kit. However, those self-reported cases are not included in the average we see within the community.

”At-home test kits are very underreported, and there’s probably more COVID present in our community. Still, at this point, there is not a mechanism that validates and provides that testing to the state and then back to us for that aggregate number that we do report,” Director Towns says.

Towns says it’s hard for the health department to know how many people in the community are using those at-home test kits. The goal is to answer any questions or see if a PCR test is needed.

“We can walk them through the process of notifying people in order to really minimize the spread, which is the whole purpose of testing in the first place,” Towns says.

When it comes to the average of 64 new cases each day, Towns says those tests were confirmed by the state, which is why that’s different from the at-home test kits.

“That is an established mechanism through providers who are offering PCR testing,” Towns says.

Community member Celine Boyts says that although it is concerning, she doesn’t think it will change how community members act.

“The measures that I and my family take are protecting others,” Boyts says. “When we’re wearing masks, we’re protecting others, but when others aren’t wearing masks, they’re not protecting us.”

Boyts says she doesn’t see many people still wearing masks, which worries her.

“Having children, people like to get up close to you have kids because people tend to love children, and it’s hard because I don’t want to be rude and tell people they need to back off, but I do have situations where someone will be coughing or sneezing right next to me,” Boyts says.

As a parent to a one-year-old and a three-year-old, Boyts’ kids are too young to be vaccinated.

“It is more concerning for my family because I can’t protect them to the extent that I would like to,” Boyts says.

The health department is hosting a walk-in COVID-19 testing event Thursday from 3:00-6:00 at the O’Reilly Center for Hope.

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