SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – While news outlets across the country report hours-long lines at testing clinics, Springfield health officials say there’s no shortage of tests in the metro, but appointments are starting to fill up days in advance.
At the Springfield-Greene County Health Department’s clinic on East Battlefield in Springfield, nearly all of its 400 available testing appointments this week have been filled.
Similarly, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services portal to order an at-home COVID-19 test kit is consistently reaching its daily limit each afternoon.
DHSS holds a free drive-thru testing clinic each Tuesday in the parking lot across from Mother’s Brewing in downtown Springfield.
I’m the past few weeks, staff say they were averaging about five to ten people take advantage of the opportunity, but Tuesday, January 4th, the two staff members served more than 170 people between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Staff says when they first opened this morning, traffic along Grant Avenue was backed up at least two miles with folks just waiting to pull into the parking lot.
Of those seeking a test, Dave Fite says he came after he started showing symptoms after the holidays.
“Well, I just had some cold and runny nose and cough and congestion and stuff the past few days,” says Fite.
Greene County is now averaging 200 new cases a day.
On Tuesday, more than 160 people were in Springfield hospitals due to COVID-19. Of those, about a third are in critical care.
Despite being vaccinated, Fite says the Omicron variant and working out in the community is another reason he thought getting tested was necessary.
“I don’t want to take any chances, and I’m 61 years old and, you know, I just I’ve had a few friends that passed away the last year of COVID, and I don’t want to take any chances,” says Fite.
As demand for testing grows locally, the Springfield-Greene County Health Department encourages people to consistently check their website for new testing appointments to be added.
While the department says it has enough supplies to meet demand, it will likely be hard to find same-day or even next-day appointments.
Community Wellness Coordinator Cara Erwin says spots are filling up quickly, so it is best to make appointment days in advance.
“Testing capacity is beginning to become more of an issue. However, there are appointments available, particularly if you can put your test out by a couple of days. So, for example, if you know you’re going to be traveling or if you know you’re going to be getting back from traveling and can go ahead and schedule your tests, maybe a week out, you’re going to have a much better chance of getting in when you want to,” says Erwin.
Where to get tested in Springfield:
The Springfield-Greene County Health Department’s website lists all sites in Springfield that offer free or priced rapid, PCR, and antigen COVID-19 tests.
To view providers, testing types, and prices, click here.