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COVID-19 testing options available and recommended for Genesee County’s at-risk populations

Photo by Martin Sanche on Unsplash

Update written by Tanya Terry

African American males are more at risk of death from COVID-19 than other populations. Unfortunately, some primary care physicians may not be open now, and there are people in our communities who do not have a primary source of healthcare.

“Hamilton is available to all our community members that do not have a medical home,” said Suzanne Cupal, MPH and community health division director of the Genesee County Health Department at a Flint Communications Group meeting held on Zoom April 23

“They can call and make an appointment,” Cupal added. “They’re doing a lot of things by telemedicine. They are seeing people at their clinics in small groups. If someone needs a test for COVID-19, they can be seen at Hamilton and get the slips that are necessary to go to the testing sites.”

Hamilton also does on-site testing.

There are many less emergency room visits now than before, according to Cupal

“Clearly we want to keep the emergency room clear for emergency situations, and that includes COVID-19 and everything else-from heart attacks and strokes, etcetera,” Cupal said. “Just a reminder, even though we’re in a stay at home order, we do want people to monitor and take care of their health.”

Those who are experiencing other health issues or symptoms are urged to see their primary care physicians.

“If you do not have one and generally go to urgent care or the emergency room, the urgent cares are still open, but we also have Hamilton to assist, as well.”

The priority listing for testing is evolving fairly quickly. Priority one is anyone hospitalized with COVID-19 like symptoms and healthcare facility workers with symptoms. Priority two includes patients in long-term care facilities with symptoms, patients over 65 with symptoms, patients with underlying medical conditions with symptoms and first responder with symptoms. Priority three includes critical infrastructure workers with symptoms and individuals who do not meet any of the above categories but have symptoms. Asymptomatic healthcare workers and first responders and individuals with mild symptoms in communities experiencing high COVID-19 hospitalizations, such as in Genesee County, and critical infrastructure workers who are asymptomatic have been added. These populations get priority for testing.

“Critical infrastructure workers are on the list of priority for testing, but you can see there are many others in the priority categories above them.”

Hurley’s testing site is available Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The hotline number for Hurley’s testing is 810-262-3685.

“This week they were able to increase their capacity from 50 tests a day to 75.”

Genesee Health System will do testing in populations in a group home or congregant setting. They will be functioning Monday, Wednesday and Friday, by appointment. Details on Genesee Health System’s testing are being worked out.

Hamilton’s drive thru testing begins April 28. They will be operating Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Northpointe Clinic.

The following week, Hamilton is hoping to be able to provide testing Tuesdays and Thursdays at their Burton location, as well.

Rite Aid Pharmacy in Swartz Creek began testing April 20. They are available 9 a.m.-5 p.m., by appointment through the Rite Aid website. They are doing a different form of testing, involving the use of self administered nasal swabs while a pharmacist observes the patient and provides direction on how to collect the sample.

As of 3 p.m. April 24, there were 35,291 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Michigan and 2,977 deaths. In Genesee County alone there were 1,387 confirmed cases and 144 deaths. Daily updates, as well as demographics are available at

Cupal said the Genesee County Health Department was in communication with Mott Community College and Genesee Health Plan about further testing locations that would allow more opportunity to reach all parts of the county. Cupal said the health department is also working with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the health department’s emergency operation center, Jeff Wilson at the Genesee County Sherriff’s Department and the city of Flint, among other entities.

“We’re reminding people who are ill that if their illness progresses, please take medical care-but do it sooner rather than later.”

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