Michigan ramps up COVID testing at nursing homes, schools, airports as numbers rise

State has reported 4,000 or more new cases for 7 straight days

COVID-19 test plates (Frank Augstein, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Michigan officials are ramping up COVID-19 testing at nursing homes, schools and airports as the number of cases spreading throughout the state continues to rise.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is urging residents to do what it takes to slow the spread of the virus after seven straight days of announcing 4,000 or more new cases.

“Now is the time for us all to come together and do what’s necessary to end this pandemic,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive of MDHHS. “We are making progress in the fight against the virus with more than 4 million doses administered and 2.6 million Michiganders having at least their first dose of the safe and effective COVD-19 vaccine. It is important, now more than ever, that we double down on the things that work: wearing masks, social distancing, getting tested and making plans to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”

As more infectious variants of COVID-19, such as B117, continue to spread throughout Michigan, officials are worried the state’s progress in controlling the virus will be erased.

“Our goal is to loosen restrictions while reducing public health risk, which is why we move slowly to maintain progress and momentum with thoughtful public health measures,” MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel said. “We are also increasing testing in key populations to help identify cases more quickly, and help prevent additional spread of the virus.”

The state announced the following efforts to try to slow the spread of COVID-19:

  • More than 1.4 million antigen tests have been sent to long-term care facilities.
  • More than 72,000 free tests have been conducted at neighborhood testing sites in socially vulnerable communities and continue to provide testing.
  • Over 76,000 students, student-athletes and teachers in K-12 schools have been tested in more than 500 school districts.
  • Testing for student-athletes begins Friday (April 2).
  • Free post-spring break testing pop-up sites are planned for school districts in 34 communities.
  • Testing sites at welcome centers and Michigan airports are in the works for returning travelers.

As of Monday (April 5), all Michiganders age 16 and up who were not previously eligible will be eligible to receive a vaccine. Vaccine providers with the capacity to vaccinate all individuals ages 16 years and older are allowed do so at this time, state officials said.

Michigan officials believe it might still take several more weeks for everyone who wishes to receive a vaccine to have an appointment. They are asking Michiganders to be patient as supplies and appointments continue to expand. Those who want the vaccine will be able to get the vaccine, they said.

About the Author:

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.