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Verifying statements on COVID-19 testing availability from St. Louis County Executive Democratic debate

During Wednesday night's debate, two candidates made statements about testing availability, but not all the statements were true

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Four candidates faced off in the Democratic St. Louis County Executive debate Wednesday night.

Our verify team is taking a closer look at statements made about the availability of COVID-19 testing.

University City resident and democratic candidate Jamie Tolliver said when speaking about North St. Louis County testing availability.

“People who were more advantaged and they and their families were able to get testing sooner than other people,” she said.

St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman also commented about testing availability saying 

“COVID-19 testing was available in places like Chesterfield and Des Peres weeks, months, before it was available anywhere north of Delmar Boulevard,” he said.

The Verify team’s sources used regarding these statements are The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services website and Sara Dayley, a spokesperson for the St. Louis County Department of Health.

A public COVID-19 testing site opened at the Mercy Virtual Care Center in West St. Louis County, specifically Chesterfield, on March 30.

North St. Louis County’s public COVID-19 testing side opened at the John C. Murphy Health Center in Berkley on April 6. Another site opened at People’s Health Center in Florissant on April 14.

We can Verify that Jamie Tolliver's statement is true. She is correct that people living in more affluent areas, therefore more advantaged, had COVID-19 testing sites sooner.

We can Verify that Assessor Zimmerman's statement, is false. While he is correct that the Chesterfield community had a testing site sooner than the North St. Louis County community, his timeline is incorrect. Assessor Zimmerman said “weeks, months.” The North St. Louis County testing site was opened 7 days after the Chesterfield testing site.

You can watch the full debate below:

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