COVID test shortage Magers Health

Dr. Frederick D. Muegge, Director of Health and Wellness Services, explains the process of testing on campus on Aug. 26. Muegge shared they only test asymptomatic people after 7-10 days because symptoms might not show up quickly after exposure.

Since the start of classes last week, Missouri State University has experienced an increase in COVID-19 cases, with a total of 141 cases as of August 23. However, some students are claiming that Magers Health and Wellness Center, along with some other testing centers around Springfield, are declining patients that aren’t showing symptoms to get tested. 

Emma Schmidt, junior marketing and advertising major, and Sarah Coy, junior marketing major, shared they were exposed to COVID-19 from a mutual friend, and when they went to get tested, they were declined since they were not showing symptoms.

“First we tried Mercy (Hospital), and they made us do a pre-assessment before we could actually get a COVID test,” said Schmidt. “They asked us if we had a fever, shortness of breath, chills and any kind of symptoms first, and then if you don’t have them, then you can’t get a test.” 

Sonya Kullman, media representative of Mercy Springfield, shared that patients should be in contact with their primary care providers about whether testing would be appropriate. 

“We don’t have a shortage of tests, but we are trying to be judicious in using them,” said Kullman. “It’s really a conversation with the doctor and the patient to determine what the doctor feels is the level of risk and what the patient is comfortable with as far as testing.” 

Schmidt shared that when she called Magers and talked to someone at the front desk, in order to get a test there, you must be showing symptoms.

Both Schmidt and Coy expressed that they would have been more at ease knowing they hadn’t contracted the virus, even though neither of them were symptomatic. 

“I did wear a mask around my house,” said Coy. “After a couple of days, me and her [Coy’s roommate] were talking, and I was like, ‘I don’t think I have it, but I can’t tell you I don’t have it.’” 

If students or staff are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, they are able to get a test through Magers Health and Wellness Center that is located on campus.

Director of Health and Wellness Services, Dr. Frederick D. Muegge shared that they are testing up to 100 people per day

Students are seen on a reservation basis outside Magers under a tent on the east side of the clinic. They are asked a series of questions, such as their symptoms, followed by having their temperature checked, before receiving the nose swab test.

Tests are then sent to the lab, and results come back within 2-3 days according to Muegge.

“We give them an instructions sheet that talks about quarantining themselves while they wait for their test report,” said Muegge. “They should be in their own bedroom, door closed, not going to work, not going to class. Once their test comes back, we are able to council them.”

Muegge shared that the center tests those who are asymptomatic 7-10 days after exposure since symptoms might not set in immediately after being exposed.

“We have plenty of tests,” said Muegge. “We are in it to help every student. Today, for example, as far as I can tell at least as of about 3 in the afternoon, anyone that wants a test can get a test, so we really aren’t short in that sense.”

Schmidt and Coy shared that they wish Missouri State would have given more information about COVID-19 testing.

“I also feel like there should be a disclosure on who can get a test and who can’t because we were doing what we were supposed to do and calling doctors, and they were like ‘Sorry can’t help ya,’” said Coy. 

According to the Magers Health and Wellness Center’s website, students and staff should wear masks, distance themselves, wash their hands and minimize contact with surfaces on campus.