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story.lead_photo.caption FILE: Private 1st Class Marissa Hunt places a test swab from a COVID-19 test into an bag held by Sgt. 1st Class Logan Amador on July 9 at the testing site on Industrial Drive. Hunt and Amador were part of the Missouri National Guard team that performed testing for three days in Jefferson City. Photo by Julie Smith / News Tribune.

The head of the Missouri National Guard unit performing free community COVID-19 testing this week in Jefferson City said it was "an extremely successful" three-day event.

Capt. Andrew Rodenberg estimated they did 600 tests daily Tuesday through Thursday, averaging about 50 tests an hour.

As of Thursday afternoon, Cole County Health Department Director Kristi Campbell said her office had been told by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services that 366 negative tests had been recorded during the event.

There were also eight positive tests reported, four of which were Cole County residents, three from Boone County and one from Miller County.

DHSS officials said they should have final numbers from the local testing event sometime next week.

Just like testing that has been taking place at local hospitals, those getting tested at this event had a nasal swab test administered while they were in their vehicles going through the parking lot of the old Cole County Health Department building on Industrial Drive.

"This was one of the biggest events we've done," Rodenberg said. "We did some in Kansas City where there were large turnouts."

Community testing events are free to any Missouri resident of any county — not just the county where the event takes place — and people do not need to have symptoms of COVID-19 to take part.

Rodenberg said those who get tested usually get their results in one to three days, but it could be as long as seven days.

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Rodenberg's Task Force Pony Express will take a break then head to the Kansas City area to do another three-day community testing event at a suburban sports complex.

"Where we go after that we don't know, but for the foreseeable future we'll be continuing to do these events," Rodenberg said.

While a person can drive up and ask to be tested at these events, Guard officials said residents still need to call DHSS to be sure they can register to be tested. That's why they prefer people to register prior to going to the testing site. To find future community testing sites across the state and register for testing visit health.mo.gov/communitytest. Individuals who cannot register online may call the COVID-19 Hotline at 877-435-8411 for assistance.

"We were pleased with how things went this week," Campbell said. "We do expect to see increased positive test results as our testing increases."

As of Wednesday, Cole County has confirmed 115 total cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Thirty-four cases remain active; 79 patients have recovered; and two have died.

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