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The News Tribune is offering this article free to all readers because it includes information important to public safety and health in our community.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services announced Wednesday that a round of community testing for COVID-19 will occur Sept. 18-23 in Boone, Nodaway, Ralls, St. Charles, Madison and Perry counties.

Times, locations and registration for testing may be found at dcphdo02redcap.azurewebsites.net/redcap/surveys/?s=XTLH7FCLD7.

In Boone County, the testing event will be noon-7 p.m. Monday and 7 a.m.-noon Tuesday at The Crossing Church in Columbia.

Jefferson and St. Francois counties also will have testing, but times and dates were not available on the website Thursday.

The only requirement for any of the tests is Missouri residency.

"Individuals do not have to live in the county in which they are tested, and they do not have to be experiencing symptoms," according to a DHSS news release.

While Cole County will not host any of the upcoming state-supported testing events, Cole County officials recently asked four area health care providers to submit proposals to the County Commission to provide community testing through federal CARES Act funding.

The county has asked SSM Health (the St. Louis-based owner of St. Mary's Hospital), Capital Region Medical Center, Boone Hospital and Community Health Center of Central Missouri to submit proposals, Cole County Health Department Director Kristi Campbell said.

Cole County provides a weekly dashboard for COVID-19 data at colecounty.org/DocumentCenter/View/5966/Weekly-Dashboard-9-3-20-PDF?bidId=.

The page provides information, such as the percentage of county residents who test positive for the virus versus those who test negative, cumulative cases in the county and demographics of positive cases.

"We have instances where people have traveled and come back, become symptomatic and transmit (the virus) to others," Campbell said. "We also have a lot of instances where people interact with others or are household or social contacts of positive cases and get the virus that way."

Campbell reminds those who test positive for COVID-19 to adhere to recommendations that they quarantine.

Determining where people were exposed to the virus can be difficult, she said.

"Similar to other viruses, it can be hard for some people to know exactly where they might be exposed," Campbell said. "The majority of the cases in Cole County Health Department have been mild and are recovering within the quarantine timeframe."

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