The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services along with the National Guard will conduct more free COVID-19 testing in Joplin and Neosho this week.

Testing will be done from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday at the Rocketdyne Church of Christ in Neosho and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday at Missouri Southern State University's football stadium parking lot in Joplin.

Register to receive a test at health.mo.gov/communitytest. A test site and appointment times can be selected during the registration process. Those who need assistance registering may contact the Missouri COVID-19 Hotline at 877-435-8411.

State testing also is being done in a number of other cities outside the Joplin area.

The test is a PCR test done by a nasal anterior nares swab to determine if there is an active infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. They are not antigen or antibody tests.

In Joplin, the most recent numbers reported on the city website reported 188 active cases of the virus as of Thursday, bringing the city's total case count since March 23 to 1,587. There were 60 people hospitalized, and 22 were Joplin residents. There were 274 people in quarantine. Twenty-five Joplin residents have died of the virus or complications from it since the pandemic started.

The Newton County Health Department's most recent report on Friday cited 20 new cases, bringing total cases in the county to 1,804. A total of 275 people were in isolation, with 14 people hospitalized. The county has reported 24 COVID-19 deaths.

The Jasper County Health Department on Friday reported 240 active cases, bringing the total case count so far to 2,965. There were 22 county residents hospitalized, and there have been 40 resident deaths from COVID-19.

Across the state, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services on Friday reported a drastic daily increase of 136 deaths, with a spokesperson saying that most of them had occurred in September and were just being reported. The state followed that by reporting an increase of more than 5,000 cases on Saturday — a new record. All told, the state has now logged 144,230 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 2,422 deaths.

There have already been two rounds of free state testing in the area in recent months.

In July, testing was conducted in Joplin and Carthage as well as Newton, McDonald and Barry counties. There also had been testing in late June when the positivity rate was nearly 9% in those cities and counties with 197 people testing positive out of 2,195 people tested.

In Joplin, at the time of the city's last briefing on the status of the virus, the city's health director, Ryan Talken, said the positivity rate for COVID-19 tests was about 17%. There were 160 active cases at that time.