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Unique Collaboration Brings COVID-19 Testing to Fort Leonard Wood Region

by Erin Younkin | May 20, 2020

Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri – May 20, 2020 – The Pulaski County Health Center administered free COVID-19 viral tests to 700 Pulaski County residents at the St. Robert Community Center on Saturday and Sunday, May 16-17. 

“The mass testing was a result of a very unique collaboration and concerted planning between Pulaski County, Phelps Health, the state of Missouri, and the US Army at Fort Leonard Wood (FLW),” said SOP executive director Dorsey Newcomb. 

County residents tested were able to pre-register through the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) website. No symptoms or pre-requisites were required to be tested. 

The tests were made available through funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Patients are expected to receive results in 10-14 days and the results will be kept confidential in accordance with the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), but data regarding positive and negative test results will be reported to DHSS. 

This testing comes as FLW, which is located in Pulaski County, remains under a declared Public Health Emergency (PHE) through May 27, 2020. Over the past several months, FLW has implemented a variety of protection, prevention, and detection measures aimed at protecting service members training at FLW and the installation’s mission in support of national defense. 

In the past few weeks, FLW leaders have been working with state and county officials for a more aggressive local effort to provide testing and to better understand coronavirus infection and recovery data in the counties surrounding the installation. About 70% of FLW service members and families live in communities surrounding the installation, particularly in Pulaski County. Occurrence of the virus in the region can have an effect on the training mission at FLW. 

Local medical facilities have been diagnosing and providing guidance and care for those infected; however, prior to this event there had been limited testing occurring in Pulaski County. This testing event served as a necessary component in quantifying the local COVID-19 infection rate and risk.

“We are thankful for the partnership with Phelps Health to conduct testing for our community members, in order to help prevent the spread of the virus and to keep all community members, including those from FLW, safe and healthy,” said Pulaski County Health Center health director Deborah Baker. 

“This weekend was an important opportunity for Pulaski County residents and the resulting data will help our community members and leaders better understand our local rate of infection. This event, along with the ongoing and unique collaboration around prevention, proactive measures, communication, and planning, will help inform leaders, businesses, and community members throughout the county to better evaluate risk conditions and effectively make decisions as we all continue working together through a phased approach to resuming safe and normal operations,” said Newcomb.

The Sustainable Ozarks Partnership is building on the Fort Leonard Wood Region’s strong past and preparing the region for a healthy, resilient future. We are a nonprofit organization working to bring all of the region’s stakeholders to the table to drive regional development and advocate for new or expanded military and federal missions, all as part of our efforts to strengthen the Fort Leonard Wood region.

Strengthening the Fort Leonard Wood region