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Flint among communities to offer additional COVID-19 testing through neighborhood testing sites

To expand testing opportunities and make it easier for Michiganders to access testing in their own backyards, the Michigan Department of the Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is partnering with community organizations to launch 12 neighborhood testing sites by the end of the week and more than 20 across the state in coming weeks.

Testing will be free and hosted by trusted community partners including churches, community colleges and nonprofit organizations. Locations were chosen in part to help address racial and ethnic disparities that had existed prior to the pandemic and were exacerbated by the virus – a focus of the Racial Disparities Task Force.

“Expanding access to testing will help us protect ourselves, our families and the brave men and women on the front lines of this crisis,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

“That’s why we are working to remove as many barriers as possible to ensure COVID-19 testing is accessible for all Michiganders,” Whitmer added.  “After looking closely at the data and working with community partners, we believe these sites will provide the greatest access to testing for Michiganders across the state. We appreciate the willingness of these community partners to open their doors for this very important effort.”

Three sites have started testing in Detroit with additional sites coming online this week in Flint, Albion, Ecorse, Graying and Roseville. Additional sites are slated in Benton Harbor, Grand Rapids, Lansing, Muskegon, Niles, Saginaw and Wayne in coming weeks.

The Detroit Health Department will have volunteers at several testing sites in Detroit to connect community members with a variety of public health programs and human services, such as state benefits, immunizations and lead testing; Women, Infants, and Children food and nutrition program; Detroit Municipal ID and referrals to primary care providers. Language translation will also be provided at all sites, as well as assistance for the deaf and hard of hearing. The Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan is providing $55,000 to help support the 11 Southeast Michigan sites.

“These Neighborhood Testing Sites will provide more than a place to get a COVID test,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health.

“We know there are gaps in services in many communities in our state and these locations were chosen in an effort to address as many of these issues as possible,”  Khaldun added.

Testing sites will offer saliva tests, which are less invasive than nasal swabs and may make the testing process more tolerable for some people. Appointments are strongly encouraged and can be made either by calling the COVID-19 hotline at 888-535-6136 and selecting “1” or online. Walk-ins will be taken as space allows, but pre-registration is strongly advised.

Online registration is available at Michigan.gov/CoronavirusTest through Solv. Both patients who book online in advance or walk-in to a testing site can use a mobile device to fill out their information including name, date of birth and phone number.

Michiganders arriving at the neighborhood testing can check-in online to secure their place in line, making it easy for them to safely wait in their car or at a safe social distance from the testing site until their appointment.

“Helping Michigan residents easily access COVID testing sites is critical to safely reopening and we’re proud that our technology will help the state reach their testing goals more quickly,” said Heather Fernandez, CEO and co-founder of Solv.

“Neighborhood testing sites are just the start,” Fernandez added. “We look forward to working with the state to open up online registration for more testing sites over the coming months in Michigan.”

Test results can be obtained via phone, email or by logging into the results portal.

Information about the Flint test sites is as follows:

  • Macedonia Baptist Church, G5443 North Saginaw Street, Flint. Hours: Mondays 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.; Fridays 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.; Saturdays 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Bethel United Methodist Church, B1309 N Ballenger Highway, Flint. Hours: Tuesdays 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Wednesdays 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Thursdays 1 – 7 p.m.
  • Word of Life Christian Church, 460 West Atherton Road, Flint. Hours: Tuesdays 12 – 6 p.m.; Wednesdays 12 – 6 p.m.; Thursdays 12 – 6 p.m. Open on Sept. 3.

Additional sites will be announced as they are confirmed.

Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.

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