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Missouri working to expand coronavirus testing, governor says

Missouri working to expand coronavirus testing, governor says

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US slashes testing rules to speedup coronavirus screening

A nurse holds swabs and test tube to test people for COVID-19 at a drive through station set up in the parking lot of the Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich., Monday, March 16, 2020. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson on Tuesday announced efforts to increase the state's testing capacity for the coronavirus. 

The governor said 15 people had tested positive for COVID-19 in Missouri. In addition, 253 people had tested negative at the state laboratory. Two of the positive tests came from commercial labs, he said.

"I don' t think you can live through this out of fear," Parson said. "Concern yes. But fear shouldn't be driving how people react to the situation." 

The state lab can run 1,600 tests a day, Parson said. State officials are working with Washington University and the University of Missouri-Columbia so those university labs can run up to 1,000 tests a day when they are fully operational. 

"This is going to come down to personal responsibility," Parson said. "The prevention is critical to fighting coronavirus, and I call on all Missourians to take that practice seriously." 

Parson said the state has the capability to set up 500 additional testing sites across the state if it partners with the private sector. The goal is to move testing sites away from hospitals, he said

Also making their way across the state are deliveries of 370,000 items of personal protective equipment for hospital staff, first responders and law enforcement officers who may encounter infected people. 

 "I do believe that we are going to be at this status for some time. I don't believe coronavirus is going to be over in a week or two," Parson said. "I believe that we have to consider that this is going to be  here for months."

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