Missouri’s online ordering system for free home coronavirus test kits was suspended Wednesday to allow the supplier to catch up with demand. Ordering is expected to reopen Thursday morning.
The system also paused last week for a day due to the overwhelming number of requests.
To ensure the kits are shipped quickly, state officials said a limited supply will be available each day through January. If the ordering site says the limit has been reached, check back the next day.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on December 27.
Officials also asked Missourians not to store the tests. Only request kits for immediate testing needs.
“With high case rates and limited testing supplies available across the country, now is the time to use these tests, especially for those with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or who have been exposed to a positive case for COVID-19,” the Missouri Department of Health said. and Senior Services said in a press release.
If Missouri’s COVID-19 positivity rate increases significantly, the state could work with the vendor to increase daily order allocation, according to the news release.
Missouri’s average positivity rate over the past seven days is 28%. This means that around one in four coronavirus tests come back positive and many cases are likely undetected.
Over the past week, an average of 7,223 Missourians a day have tested positive for the coronavirus — more than double the number two weeks ago.
Once ordered online, the test kit usually arrives within two days. The kit is good for six months. Once the sample is collected, it must be returned via FedEx within 24 hours using the kit’s free shipping envelope.
Users must provide an email address in order to receive the test result.
If users need help navigating the online ordering system or with shipping, they can call a hotline at 626-434-3596.
With home tests for children hard to come by and test appointments booked at pharmacies and clinics, hospital leaders say many residents are jamming emergency rooms looking for tests.
“A lot of it is patients with milder symptoms who just want to know if they have COVID or not, and then there are patients who come in who just want to be tested after exposure,” one person said. infected, said Dr. Alok Sengupta of Mercy. Saint Louis Hospital.
It can overwhelm the system because emergency room providers are required to screen everyone seeking care to make sure they are not in an emergency, he said.
The seriously ill are seen first, but the seriousness of some patient complaints is not immediately obvious, and full emergency rooms mean it may take longer to get to those patients.
“There are times when someone has a primary complaint that doesn’t necessarily seem to be emerging and their vital signs are normal, but once we see them and run tests, we find out that something is wrong. ’emergent is who we care about, patients who fall into that bucket,’ Sengupta said.
He urged residents with mild or no symptoms to seek testing options with their doctor or go to a state testing site or clinic.
“When you use the emergency department for these tests,” he said, “it affects the care of patients who really, really need emergency care.”
The state health department also provides testing locations across the state.. A central Missouri testing site is located in the American Legion parking lot on Tanner Bridge Road in Jefferson City.
It is open for testing from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on January 9 and 23.
Pre-registration and appointment required. Residents can go online to health.mo.gov/communitytest to register and see a full list of test events. They can also call 877-435-8411 for assistance.