The SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital — Audrain COVID-19 COVID-19 drive-thru test site is almost through its second week of operation. A handful of people are tested every day, mostly from Audrain County, Jamie Hill of SSM Health said during a weekly teleconference with the Audrain County Health Department and other county and city stakeholders.


Negative results continue to come in from the lab processing the tests, she said.


A major reason Audrain County has not seen any positive COVID-19 results yet is down to population density, health department Administrator Sandra Hewlett said.


“We are largely agricultural. We are spread out further and our population is not like an urban population like Cole or Boone counties,” she said.


Organizations like nursing homes and Missouri Military Academy reacted quickly and instituted quarantine measures long before state recommendations, which also has helped, Hewlett said.


The drive-thru site in Audrain County helps people from having to drive 90-minutes round trip to Columbia or Jefferson City for their drive-thru sites, she added.


The health department has arranged a collaborative meeting with health care leaders in the county to prepare for a surge in testing or positive results. The county/city stakeholder collaborative teleconference will switch to an every other week schedule until the expected surge, Hewlett said.


“We are not near a surge at this point,” she said.


Central Missouri Community Action family resource centers have been closed, but employees continue to take phone calls from clients, Tad Dobyns said.


Food distributions at the Laura Miller Geoge Help Center continue smoothly, Executive Director Phillip Iman said. Distributions transitioned to curbside pick-up. The center lost about 60-70% of its volunteer force since they are older adults, he said. The community has stepped up, however, and more young volunteers are helping, he said.


The Help Center’s thrift store, which is the center’s main source of income, closed last month. That hasn’t prevented the center from providing services, though.


“I’m amazed and overjoyed the way the community has stepped up and provided financial assistance to us to get through this rough period of time as far as operating costs,” Iman said.


Iman has a weekly conference call with The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri. The bank was hit hard the last two weeks of March, but full trucks are coming again. There are not any food shortages yet.


Mexico School District has changed its food distribution days for students. Meals are distributed Mondays and Thursdays and students are provided with a week’s worth of meals from both distribution days. Parents or guardians now can pick up meals without a child present, but the central office needs to know only a parent is picking up meals.


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