State officials said Monday that long-term care facilities where there have been positive tests for COVID-19 will be asked to test all residents and staff members.
Gov. Mike Parson announced that 163 Missouri nursing homes have recorded at least one positive COVID-19 case of either staff or residents. Of those homes, 72 have not had an active case in 15 days. Of the rest, 41 have had facilitywide testing and the others now will be asked to do the same.
The Neighborhoods by TigerPlace, a senior living facility in Boone County, announced in a press release that it will test all residents and employees after one staff member tested positive earlier in May.
The attention to long-term care facilities comes as officials focus on increasing testing in places with large congregations as part of a multistep testing plan announced Wednesday.
Officials are also asking facilities considered high-risk to complete “sentinel” testing.
Randall Williams, director of the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services, said that comprehensive testing of these facilities will help monitor potential outbreaks. These include meatpacking plants, health care centers and correctional facilities, Williams said.
“We really want to encourage Missourians as we move into this that if you have any symptoms, muscle aches, fever, cough, anything, we want you to get tested,” Williams said. “We want to see exactly how we’re doing as things change.”
Missouri is performing nearly 9,000 tests per day, Williams estimated, which will likely increase to 10,000 per day by next week.
Williams also said that officials have conducted at least one “prevalence” test of around 3,000 people. Considered the long-term goal, these tests will focus on specific portions of the population to understand what is happening in various Missouri communities.
Parson said that it is important for Missourians to remember that case numbers will likely increase as testing is expanded. As of Monday, there have been 10,945 positive cases of COVID-19 in Missouri.