The Latest COVID-19 Testing and Treatment Information
At Lake Regional Health System, the safety, health and well-being of our patients, visitors and our team is our top priority.
While in-person appointments are available and safe, virtual visits also are available.
When and Where to Seek Care
If you have mild or moderate symptoms and want medical attention, please call your primary care provider or visit a Lake Regional Express Care. Please be prepared for long waits. You also may request a virtual visit.
If you have severe symptoms, such as trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, or pale gray or blue-colored skin, lips or nail beds, call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Department.
We are limiting COVID testing to patients who have COVID symptoms. We cannot provide testing for travel, events, exposures or return to work.
Also, if you are not experiencing symptoms, please do not visit the Emergency Department for testing.
Patients needing COVID-19 testing before a procedure should go to the hospital's Outpatient Services department from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. A physician's order, but no appointment, is required.
More Testing Options
Over-the-Counter: Effective Jan. 15 through the public emergency period, up to eight over-the-counter COVID-19 tests every 30 days (or per month) are eligible for reimbursement through most health plans. Lake Regional pharmacies have a limited supply of over-the-counter tests.
Federal Website: The website COVIDTests.gov provides tests at no cost, including no shipping fee. Supplies are limited to just four free tests per home.
Community Testing: The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is sponsoring free testing sites throughout the state, including in Columbia, Jefferson City and Springfield. Visit health.mo.gov/communitytest to see dates and locations.
Lake Regional provides outpatient treatment to patients with a test-confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis, based on how long they have had symptoms and National Institutes of Health Treatment Guidelines. All treatments require a prescription.
Two oral medications, Paxlovid and molnupiravir, have received an emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. To benefit from these medications, patients must begin them within five days of symptom onset.
Like other health care providers, Lake Regional has a limited supply of these medications and is following National Institutes of Health Treatment Guidelines to determine patient eligibility and to prioritize treatment. Patients currently eligible for outpatient treatments include:
- Immunocompromised individuals
- Vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals age 65 or older
- Vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals younger than 65 with other clinical risk factors
Patients who are experiencing symptoms and may meet eligibility requirements should contact their primary care provider.
- Stay home except to get medical care.
- Monitor your symptoms carefully. If your symptoms get worse, call your primary care provider immediately.
- Get rest, and stay hydrated.
- Take over-the-counter medications as directed. Your health care provider may recommend acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce fever and cough medicine to manage a cough.
- For medical emergencies, call 911 and notify the dispatch personnel that you have or may have COVID-19.
- Cover your cough and sneezes with a tissue or use the inside of your elbow.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- As much as possible, stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home. Also, you should use a separate bathroom, if available. If you need to be around other people in or outside the home, wear a mask.
- Avoid sharing personal items with other people in your household, like dishes, towels and bedding.
- Clean all surfaces that are touched often, like counters, tabletops and doorknobs. Use household cleaning sprays or wipes according to the label instructions.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Your first line of defense is to choose a healthy lifestyle. Following general good-health guidelines is the single best step you can take toward naturally keeping your immune system working properly. Every part of your body, including your immune system, functions better when protected from environmental assaults and bolstered by healthy-living strategies such as these:
- Don’t smoke.
- Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables.
- Exercise regularly.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
- Get adequate sleep.
- Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.
- Try to minimize stress.
- Keep current with all recommended vaccines. Vaccines prime your immune system to fight off infections before they take hold in your body.
What about vitamin D, zinc and other supplements?
Speak with your primary care provider before starting any medications or supplements. The science on the benefits of supplements for treating and preventing COVID-19 is still unfolding. This Harvard Health Blog summarizes current research: bit.ly/supplement use.
*The federal government’s Uninsured Program has stopped accepting claims for COVID testing and treatment.
- As a result, patients are now responsible for any COVID test, vaccine and treatment costs not covered by their insurance.
- COVID vaccines themselves are still free, but you may be charged a small administration fee. Most insurances will cover this charge.
- If you do not have insurance, you may qualify for low-cost or free health insurance through MO HealthNet. Even if you didn’t qualify before, check again. More Missourians can now get Medicaid. For help, call 800.390.3330.
- You also may qualify for a self-pay discount or financial assistance. To learn more, call Lake Regional Patient Financial Services at 573.348.8798.
News and Tips
- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides daily updates at Coronavirus Disease 2019.
- The state of Missouri has activated a 24-hour hotline to answer COVID-19 questions at 877.435.8411.
- If you are sick with COVID-19 or think you might have it, follow these steps to help protect other people in your home and community.
- News and tips to help you through the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Printable COVID-19 information sheets:
For more information about COVID-19, visit CDC.gov.