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Increased testing capacity for COVID-19 means more people can be tested, even with mild symptoms

A healthcare worker process a COVID-19 test at Beaumont.
Beaumont Health

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says the state has the capacity to process 9,500 COVID-19 tests a day. That’s between the state lab, commercial labs, and labs in hospital systems.

Lynn Sutfin is with the MDHHS. She says there is “a great deal of [testing] capacity.”

“We have had a great deal of testing materials come in, so we have additional kits and testing supplies, so we are able to ramp up our testing which is something we have wanted to do since this outbreak began.”

Because of this increased capacity, the state has expanded its guidelines on who can be tested. Sutfin says first responders, such as health care workers, with symptoms are the first priority for getting tested, but anyone with mild symptoms is eligible.

“If you have mild symptoms, including fever, cough, shortness of breath, you can contact your health care provider, you can contact one of the testing sites that’s on the locator, you can contact your insurance company to see if they can provide you information about testing sites, any of those will work, but yes, you may be tested now with just mild symptoms,” she says.

Sutfin adds that you only need to have one of those symptoms to get tested. Asymptomatic people should continue to stay home.

The MDHHS, along with the company Caslight, has put together an online tracker to search for a testing site near you. Sutfin says you still need to contact your health care provider or the testing site you're headed to if you want to get tested.

The state hopes to increase testing even further, in order to accurately track, isolate, and treat people infected with the virus. Sutfin says the state does not have a concrete number for the testing capacity the state hopes to achieve, but she says the state is using national data to calculate that number. 

Caroline is a third year history major at the University of Michigan. She also works at The Michigan Daily, where she has been a copy editor and an opinion columnist. When she’s not at work, you can find her down at Argo Pond as a coxswain for the Michigan men’s rowing team. Caroline loves swimming, going for walks, being outdoors, cooking, trivia, and spending time with her two-year-old cat, Pepper.
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