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Long lines in Muskegon Heights and Flint for drive-thru COVID-19 testing

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

More than a thousand residents of Muskegon Heights andFlintlined up for free COVID-19 testing over the Memorial Day weekend.

The Michigan National Guard teamed up with local health departments to set up the special drive-thru testing centers over the three day weekend.

Kimberly VanSlyke Smith is the director of nursing at the Genesee County Health Department. She says expanding testing is important, even though the rate of new confirmed coronavirus cases is slowing.

“If we don’t test a high number of people in our community, then it’s really not reflective of how many people actually have COVID-19,” says VanSlyke Smith. “We really need to know the negatives as well as the positives in Genesee County. So we really have an accurate count of what the positivity rate is and what percentage of people in our community really do have COVID-19.”

To date, 54,881 Michiganders have tested positive for COVID-19. 

5,240 Michiganders have died of the disease.

State health officials say 33,168 have officially recovered, meaning they have survived more than 30 days since testing positive for the coronavirus.

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.