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story.lead_photo.caption Gov. Mike Parson hears Tuesday about the testing efforts of the Missouri National Guard in Callaway County. Photo by Olivia Garrett / Fulton Sun.

Cars lined the 54 Country parking lot Tuesday, but not for dancing.

The dance hall hosted the Missouri National Guard as it tested hundreds of Mid-Missourians for COVID-19 at a free community testing event.

"This is a state-run facility today," Callaway County Commissioner Gary Jungermann said. "Really, our involvement was coming up with the location."

Gov. Mike Parson stopped by to visit the testing site to hear about the testing process. Parson also thanked members of the Missouri National Guard for their efforts operating drive-thru testing sites.

The National Guard used a polymerase chain reaction test to determine whether people had an active SARS-CoV-2 reaction without anyone leaving their car.

Individuals collected samples by inserting a swab into the nose.

Jungermann and other local representatives who came to meet the governor admired the process.

"It seems to be working well," Jungermann said.

In the coming weeks, the National Guard will be moving across the state for more community testing events. Future testing events will be posted at

In addition to the mobile testing events, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is offering free testing in Columbia on Mondays for those experiencing symptoms, those who believe they have been exposed and anyone worried about possibly having the virus.

The testing in Columbia is part of surge testing efforts to increase support to areas where there have been recent rises in cases and hospitalizations.

Since the pandemic began, 2.5 million COVID-19 tests have been administered in Missouri.

Missouri is currently seeing high case counts. Between Nov. 8 and Saturday, there were 28,267 new cases and 56 deaths. Callaway County had 342 cases over the same period, according to the state dashboard.

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