How to use an at-home Covid-19 test effectively

JOPLIN, Mo.–With Covid cases rising, more people have been seeking out and using at-home Covid tests.

And now that Americans will soon have access to at least four tests shipped right to their homes, many may be wondering the best way to get accurate results.

Jessica Liberty at Freeman Health System says it has to do with how well you can follow directions.

“Part of the testing piece is the collecting of the specimen. so when you go to collect it, you have your nasal or q-tip looking swab. it’s really long has the little cotton ball at the end, so you’re going to put that at least a half of an inch in each nostril…and when you leave it in there, I don’t mean just let it sit. I mean, you want to swish it around, touch all of your nostril hairs. It’s gonna itch. it’s going to be uncomfortable. it’s going to make your eyes water,” said Jessica Liberty, Manager of Infection Prevention with Freeman Health System 

Liberty says the way the specimen is collected is key.

“So a helpful hint for those that are collecting their own specimen is to stand in front of a mirror. you get to watch yourself because you don’t think it’s going in very far or you think it’s going in too far and it’s not going in far enough.”

For Joplin resident Charlie Brown, he knows what it’s like to have the at-home tests deliver a false sense of security.

“I bought four tests from Walgreens and they all showed me as being negative, and then when I got my PCR, I was positive, so I was really concerned about that,” Brown said. 

He recently recovered from a Covid infection and says at the time his rapid test was wrong, despite having symptoms when he tested.

He said he still placed an order for the free Covid tests from the government,

“But I just like them for my peace of mind, you know, to have a test available…I just think it’s really important if you are going to do the home test that you follow it up with a PCR test just so you’re 100% sure.”

Liberty says she’s seen employers share a similar concern.

“A lot of the times employers won’t accept an at-home test as a valid proof of illness of covid illness. so we validate that with our drive-through testing. and so we’re very, very happy to accommodate those people that are at home and they’re sick and they’ve had a positive at-home test and they want to be able to be off to help reduce that spread.”

And even if you don’t have Covid, but are exhibiting illness, liberty emphasizes continuing to stay home.




Fatal crash east of Granby on US-60, Missouri State Highway Patrol Crash Team investigates

NEWTON COUNTY, Mo. — Just before 3:15 p.m. Monday afternoon Newton County Central Dispatch was alerted with reports of a serious crash east of Granby, Mo. at US-60 and State Route M.

Granby Fire, Newton County Ambulance and Newton County Sheriff’s Deputies responded. Missouri State Highway Patrol was notified.


On the scene, MSgt C.S. Mason of Troop D tells us a northbound passenger car pulled into the path of an eastbound tractor-trailer.  Read more in the preliminary report prepared by Troop D.

The driver of the 2013 Toyota Avalon, Betty Rowe, 88, of Stella, did not survive.  She was pronounced at the scene.

The driver of the 1988 Peterbilt tractor-trailer, Roger Ozbun, 66, of Purdy, was not injured.

The MSHP Crash team assembled on-site and mapped the crash for investigation. The roadway is clear and traffic is flowing normal.

The Newton County Coroner, Dale Owens, claimed the body. Next of kin has been notified.

Thomas Towing removed the tractor-trailer. Riediger Towing removed the passenger car.

MSgt C.S. Mason was assisted by Crash Team 3 of Troop D including: MSgt E. Walker, Cpl J. Long and Sgt S. Richardson.

Follow Shannon Becker as Joplin News First on social media for the latest news and information up-to-the-minute.

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Parsons Splash Pad enters Phase Two and is about to begin construction

PARSONS, Ks. — Major progress has been made for a community project in Southeast Kansas.
The Parsons Area Splash Pad has officially passed it’s phase one fundraising goal of $75,000.

The committee behind the Forest Park project has ordered the equipment which is scheduled to arrive in February, with construction beginning in March and a potential grand opening during KT days in May.

“We’re pretty much going to be getting all of this concrete out and starting to bring in fill and everything,” says Breanna Nush, Parsons Area Splash Pad Chair, “Our next bit is officially called Phase 2 and we are working for benches, awnings and fencing.”

Two different fundraisers are underway to help raise around $35,000 for phase two, a Valentines Day basket raffle and a brick fundraiser.

Both can be found through the project’s Facebook page.


Missouri Representatives show their support during a Memorial Rally for Life

LAMAR, Mo. — Missouri Representatives were in Lamar this afternoon to remember babies lost to abortion.

Today was the 2022 Memorial Rally for Life at First Baptist Church in Lamar.

The Barton County Right to Life and Lamar Ministerial Alliance hosted the event for the anniversary of Roe V. Wade.

State Representative Ann Kelley, State Senator Rick Brattin, and the Missouri Right to Life President Steve Rupp spoke during Sunday’s event.

According to the Missouri Right to Life 65,000,000 children were killed during the past 49 years abortion was legalized.

“We have gone from a high of over 21,000 abortions in one year to 167 abortions last year. So we are getting very close to being abortion free, but that’s just in Missouri. We want to win the hearts of everybody in this country to the the sanctity of life. The numbers are trending down and they’re trending down a lot of it is because of our work and ultrasounds,” said Steve Rupp, President of Missouri Right to Life.

“Life is precious and its to be protected. It’s an intrinsic right that we all have and its inherent for us to do so and protect that,” said Rick Brattin, State Senator for the 31st district.

Those in attendance donated items to the nonprofit Katie’s House which is being built.

The pregnancy and family resource center will help expectant mothers by offering classes, mentoring, workshops and ultrasounds.


18-wheeler hauling paper overturns at Fidelity cloverleaf, I-44 E to I-49 N

FIDELITY, Mo. — Monday morning just before 5:00 a.m. Jasper County Emergency 911 were alerted to reports of a tractor trailer crash, upside down on the ramp, I-44 E to I-49 N.

Carthage Fire Dept, Jasper County Sheriff’s Deputies and Mercy Ambulance responded. Missouri State Highway Patrol were notified.

Carthage Fire extricated the driver, who was alert and talking, to the waiting Mercy Ambulance.

The trailer hauling paper is breached, busted open, and you can see thousands of white pages across the field near the crash.

Expect delays as M&M Wrecker will require shutting the ramp for a period of time.

This will be an extended clean up that could possibly last until noon they tell us on scene.

Carthage Fire plugged a fuel leak in one of the tanks.

We will update this article with more details as it becomes available.


Local animal shelter provides free dog houses to Southeast Kansas

PITTSBURG, Ks — A local animal shelter is working to keep animals warm during the winter months.

The Southeast Kansas Humane Society is giving out free dog houses and dog house kits.

The homes were built by students at Lakeside Elementary for the shelters Gone With the Dogs adoption event back in August.

“We have gotten about 70 plus emails for them,” says Kelsey Keeney, SEK Humane Society Animal Care Coordinator, “We do a first come first serve basis and right now we have five to seven of them left and then we still have all of the kits left as well, and if anyone has any outdoor cats or there are strays that they want to help out in the community, they can always put hay in there and blankets.”

There is a one home limit per household, and participants must be available to load the house into their vehicle.

To claim one of the homes, you can contact the Humane Society through email at sekhumanesociety@gmail.com to set up an appointment.


Area food banks are seeing shelves emptier after the holiday season

BAXTER SPRINGS, Ks. — Food banks across the country are continuing to see supply shortages.

In Baxter Springs, the Southeast Kansas Ministerial Alliance food pantry is seeing its shelves emptier than normal.

Some of the pantry’s regular donors have been unable to help during the course of the pandemic.

Items in grocery stores have also been harder to find due to supply chain issues.

Several food drives helped the pantry stay stocked during the holiday season, but management says those resources go fast.

“We did have a lot of area food drives from schools, churches, different businesses. Around December, our shelves were amazingly full, and they still continue to bring in a few things, but I don’t think you know how fast these things do go. Once we give out 30 boxes every week and we fill that box with almost every item on our shelves, then within two weeks it’s pretty low,” says Lori Baker, SEKMA Manager.

Anyone wanting to help can drop off donations at the SEKMA thrift store and food pantry during business hours.

The shelter is mainly facing shortages in non-perishable items.

Over the past year SEKMA provided food to over 800 families.


Local artists come together to help fight food insecurity in Southeast Kansas

PITTSBURG, Ks. — Artists were using their talents to help out local food banks.

Ceramic bowls created by Pittsburg State University students, alumni and local artists were sold at memorial auditorium today for the Artists Against Hunger fundraiser.

All proceeds from the event will be going towards Wesley House and the PSU Gorilla Pantry.

The event was started back in 2010 by Mayumi Kiefer while she working at a public school in Ohio.

“I’ve witnessed how difficult if we don’t have food in our stomach, how can we focus, how can we get the energy to keep going, without the food it’s very difficult,” says Kiefer, “So I think this will definitely be very helpful if we can support so many other people and spread it in so many different ways.”

Each bowl contained coupons from local restaurants and businesses.

One out of six children in Southeast Kansas suffer from food insecurity.


Miami High School Key Club holds prom dress resale

MIAMI, Ok. — Students in Miami are helping the community by reselling their prom dresses.

On Saturday, the Miami High School Key Club hosted the event for anyone to bring in a prom dress and set their own price.

Those who enter receive the profit, with all money raised through the event’s entry fee going towards providing winter gear for the community.

“Blankets, gloves and hates,” said Miami High School Junior Kimberly Be.

“When you give young people an opportunity to participate in something and to be a part of something, I have never not seen teenagers jump in with both feet to help their schoolmates or their community,” said Amy Harrison, Miami High School teacher and Key Club sponsor. “That’s no exception with this group of young people that we have this year.”

“I like that people who maybe couldn’t afford a brand new dress can get a really nice dress for cheaper,” said Miami High School Junior Lindy Stevenson.

The Key Club puts on different service projects every month, which has included donating Halloween candy and writing cards for area nursing homes.

Another prom dress resale is planned for the near future. Updates can be found on the Miami High School Facebook page.


Local Church hosts Vacation Bible School alternative

CARTHAGE, Mo. — A local church is helping its littlest members give back to those in need.

Today Carthage Church of Christ held its first Kids’ Winterfest.

The kids worked on a service project making cards and gift bags filled with treats for widows, shut-ins and nursing home patients.

The church canceled its Vacation Bible School the past two years because of the pandemic and used today’s event as a makeup.

“We truly feel like it is important to get these kids in a different setting. Not only church on Sunday’s, but to get them in a different setting where they can still learn about god and have fun doing it,” said David Lawhon, Carthage Church of Christ member.

Lawhon says he hopes they can hold traditional Vacation Bible School this summer.