OLATHE, Kan. — Johnson County is upping the ante in the fight against COVID-19.
Beginning Monday, the county’s health department will provide at least 200 coronavirus tests per day free of charge to residents between the ages of 5 and 15.
“If we want to open schools in the least restrictive way, we have to bring the positivity rate down, and we have to bring the daily number of cases down,” said Dr. Samni Areola, director of Johnson County’s Department of Health and Environment.
Areola also said the testing is a way to form a "wall" around the cases to people are not "unknowingly going around the county spreading the virus."
The department said mask mandates and increased testing efforts have already helped shrink the county’s average number of daily cases by close to 23%. But before Areola feels comfortable signing off on in-person classes, the department would like more information.
“When schools open, to be clear, there are going to be cases there,” he said.
Areola said it is important to lower COVID-19 numbers now so new cases don't put a strain on area resources.
Testing is available Monday through Friday by appointment.