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Drive-thru COVID-19 testing expanding in Michigan

Paulette Parker
Michgian Radio

Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced a plan on Saturday to open or expand 13 COVID-19 drive-thru testing sites. Some of the sites will being operating Monday.

Whitmer says the sites will provide greater access to testing across Michigan and a new lab will speed up test results.

“Better access to testing and quicker results are critical to our public health officials who are fighting coronavirus,” says Whitmer. “More testing will save lives.”

The new drive-thru capacity will include two large-scale sites in Detroit and Flint. The sites will aim to serve at least 750 and 250 people per day, respectively.

““We know our community has been especially hard hit, and testing is an important tool to combat this deadly virus,” says Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley.

According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the drive-thru sites will operate in Atlanta, Bad Axe, Battle Creek, Bay City, Benton Harbor, Jackson, Kalamazoo, and Traverse City. Test sites currently operating in Grand Rapids, Lansing, and Saginaw will be expanded. 

State officials say people have to meet Michigan's testing criteria in order to be tested at the drive-thru sites:

They should first contact the site’s patient screening telephone line or their health care provider if seeking testing. Michigan’s testing priority criteria include: Hospitalized patients. Symptomatic healthcare workers. Patients in congregate facilities with symptoms, including those at: Long-term care or elderly living facilities. Jails or prisons. Homeless shelters. Residential foster care facilities. Other group living settings. Patients age 65 and older with symptoms. Patients with underlying conditions with symptoms. First responders with symptoms. Critical infrastructure workers with symptoms.

State officials say you should first contact your doctor to see if you meet the criteria for testing.
To date, 1.392 people have died of covid-19 in michigan.   23,933 Michiganders have tested positive for the disease.
State health officials say at least 433 people have recovered. 

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.