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Drive-thru COVID-19 testing begins at former Michigan State Fairgrounds

Drive-thru testing for COVID-19 began at the former Michigan State Fairgrounds Friday.

The new testing site is a partnership between the city of Detroit, three local health systems—Henry Ford Health System, the Detroit Medical Center, and Trinity Health—and Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties. Those three counties account for nearly 85% of Michigan’s COVID-19 cases right now.

Detroit City Councilmember Janeé Ayers said things were moving safely and smoothly as of early Friday afternoon.

“Hopefully, through the rest of the day we’ll be able to get the 100 people that we are intending to see in. But folks are here, they’re on time, they’re on it," she said. "So again, this was just a wonderful display of when people come together because it’s going to take all of us to make sure that we get past this."

Ayers said patients were not leaving their cars at any time during the testing process.

“We’re making sure that there’s much social distance that’s happening and we just want to make sure everybody, whether you’re volunteering, whatever it is, we want everybody to be safe,” she said.

As of early Friday, Ayers said they hadn’t yet had to turn anyone away, but she said they were prepared in case that happened – ready to instruct patients to go to their doctor or urgent care first before they could get them in.

"Because we do anticipate servicing 500 people [a day] before this whole thing is over,” she said.

Between March 27 and May 8, the site will perform 14,400 tests, which will be conducted by appointment only, according to a press release. The site will operate from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday - Saturday.

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Paulette is a digital media reporter and producer for Michigan Public. She started as a newsroom intern at the station in 2014 and has taken on various roles in that time, including filling in as an on-air host.
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