ST. LOUIS ( -- Mercy opened a COVID-19 drive-thru testing site last Saturday in Chesterfield and they will open two additional sites as the number of cases continue to grow in the St. Louis area.

In the first six days at the Chesterfield site, Mercy officials collected samples from 441 patients. The site now sees about 120 patients per day.

The new site in Hillsboro opened to the public at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

The south St. Louis County's opening has been put on hold, the hospital says.

Mercy will be also opening a site in Washington on Monday, March 30.

Here’s what you need to know and do before visiting the test site.

Mercy said the test collection sites are exclusively for patients who have a fever of at least 100.4 degrees and respiratory symptoms including cough or shortness of breath.

Before getting a test, you need to call Mercy’s COVID-19 Clinical Support Line at 314-251-0500.

“We will only provide screening for those who meet these requirements because testing prior to the appearance of symptoms can result in a false negative,” Dr. Keith Starke said. “It’s critical for our communities that we screen those with the highest risk.”

[RELATED: The latest on coronavirus in Missouri and Illinois]

The testing site in Chesterfield is located at Mercy Virtual Care Center at 15740 S Outer Forty Road.

The Washington test site will be located on the Washington Fairgrounds, 6 Fairgrounds Rd. Washington, MO, 63090. The site will be near the Mercy First Aid Building and the Motorsports Arena. It is scheduled to open on Monday, March 23.

The South St. Louis County site will be located in the parking lot of the MetLife building at 13045 Tesson Ferry Rd., St. Louis, MO, 63128. It is scheduled to open on Wednesday, March 25.

The Hillsboro site will be located at the Hillsboro Community Civic Club Jefferson County Fairgrounds at 10349 Business 21, Hillsboro, MO, 63050. An opening date for this site is to be determined.

“This drive-through testing site will prevent unnecessary exposure to our patients and caregivers in our hospitals and clinics,” Donn Sorensen, with Mercy, said.

Drive thru coronavirus testing

This is a photo from a drive-thru testing site in Denver, Colorado. 

After you call the clinical line to be screened, if appropriate, you will need to go to the test site. From there, Mercy will collect a sample and send it to either the state health department or CDC. Results could take several days.

There will be a cost to the test, and it’s unknown if insurance or government will cover any of the cost.

[RELATED: Here are the CDC's guidelines to get tested for coronavirus]

According to Mercy, 80% of patients who will develop coronavirus will only become mildly ill. The concern is for patients with underlying medical conditions and the elderly.

You can protect yourself from COVID-19 but practicing good hygiene by washing your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds, avoid touching your face, and stay home when you’re feeling sick.

Copyright 2020 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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