MT to begin statewide COVID-19 testing of asymptomatic individuals

Posted at 11:21 AM, Jun 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-04 13:23:01-04

HELENA — Montana will begin state-wide testing this weekend of individuals who are asymptomatic for COIVD-19.

The testing -- through an initiative by Gov. Steve Bullock -- is completely free to the individual and paid for by the State of Montana.

Drive-through testing will be conducted at PureView Health Center in Helena on June 6 and June 13 from 8 a.m. until 12 p.m.

“The point is really to see if there is COVID in the community among asymptomatic people,” said Purview Health Center CEO Jill-Marie Steeley. “This kind of screening test is for people who do not have symptoms and do not have any known exposure to COVID.”

The hope is that this screening will give public health a better idea of the prevalence of COVID-19 in local communities and the state.

Unlike the deep nasal swab suspected COVID patients have been receiving after a recommendation from their provider, this testing is noninvasive. It only requires a swab of the lower nostril. The asymptomatic swab will also be performed by the individual with a medical professional present.

Steeley says it will probably be around a five-day turnaround for results, and everyone tested will be informed about what their results are.

Out of state travel is increasing in Montana, which means there are more opportunities for COVID-19 to enter a local community. Health experts are reminding people to continue good hygiene, stay home when sick and wear a mask when distancing isn’t possible.

We will update this story as more information becomes available on testing locations throughout the state.