Washtenaw County expands community COVID-19 testing

Saint Joseph Mercy Health System and Packard Health provide testing at community locations

CDC COVID-19 testing (WDIV)

YPSILANTI, Mich. – The Washtenaw County Health Department is announcing plans with local health care providers and community partners to provide COVID-19 testing where it is most needed in the community.

Testing has remained a huge challenge locally and across the state and country. With support and resources from both Saint Joseph Mercy Health System and Packard Health, testing will now be offered at two upcoming pop-up sites and ongoing testing sites in the 48197 and 48198 areas.

“We, like everyone, are frustrated with the lack of available testing,” says Jimena Loveluck, MSW, Washtenaw County Health Officer. “It has taken longer than any of us likes to bring more accessible testing to our community. We’re still not there. But we are grateful for our health care and community partners who have been working with us for weeks to get testing where most needed as fast as possible.”

Washtenaw County Health Department is hosting a Facebook Live event Wed, May 6 at 6:30 p.m. with Saint Joseph Mercy Health System and Packard Health to discuss community testing details and answer questions.

St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor hospital is directing its resources to address the social determinants of health that can affect COVID care, as part of its mission to be a transforming healing presence within the community.

"This health crisis has shone an even brighter light on the health inequities in our Ypsilanti community," said Alonzo Lewis, president, St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor and Livingston hospitals. "In listening to our community and reflecting on the data the health department is charting on who was most at risk of getting COVID, we recognized that those coming to our Ann Arbor hospital site did not mirror those hardest hit by this pandemic. Through close collaboration with the health department, we have been able to bring our trained staff and testing supplies to areas most in need in the community as identified by the health department."

Through this screening process, health care workers are able to conduct a needs assessment to ensure that participants have appropriate hand hygiene and cleaning supplies, the ability to self-isolate if needed, and be connected to further community resources to address specific needs such as access to food or transportation.

Community Testing in 48197 and 48198 zip codes

Through its partners, Washtenaw County is announcing both pop-up and ongoing testing opportunities in the 48197 and 48198 areas. No appointments, insurance, or prescriptions are needed. Walk-up or drive-up. Bring your insurance card, if you have one.

Pop-up Testing

With support from Saint Joseph Mercy Health System and partnerships with Ypsilanti Township and the Community Family Life Center in the Sugarbrook Neighborhood, testing will be provided on:

  • Saturday, May 9 at Ypsilanti Township Community Center, 2025 E. Clark Rd., Ypsilanti from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 16 at the Community Family Life Center (CFLC), 1375 S. Harris Rd., Ypsilanti from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Ongoing Testing

With support from Packard Health and a partnership with Ypsilanti Community Schools, ongoing testing is planned at Perry Early Learning Center, located at 550 Perry Street, Ypsilanti. The start date is Thursday, May 7. Testing will be offered Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Hours may be adjusted, depending on demand.

Ongoing, curbside testing is also available daily at the north entrance of St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor hospital, located at 5301 McAuley Drive, Ypsilanti, MI 48197. Call 1-833-247-1258 with questions.

Who Can Get Tested?

At both locations, COVID-19 screening is offered to anyone with at least one symptom, including: fever higher than 100 degrees, cough, shortness of breath, severe tiredness and fatigue, sore throat, muscle aches, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell, runny nose/congestion, or decreased appetite.

If you have health insurance, please bring your card. Insurance is not required for testing. There should be no out-of-pocket fees for individuals needing testing. Many insurance providers have already waived copays for COVID-19 testing.

Disproportionate Impacts of COVID-19

The impact of COVID-19 in 48197 and 48198, among Black or African American community members, and in group settings like nursing homes, assisted living facilities, homeless shelters, and jails has been disproportionate and devastating. Since the beginning of April, new COVID-19 cases in Washtenaw County have been related to three primary risks: household contact with a confirmed case; exposure at a group setting; or employment as a health care worker.

Along with prioritizing testing in zip codes with the highest rates of infection, the Health Department has been working with partners to facilitate testing in high-risk, group settings in response to COVID-19 cases and outbreaks. Testing collaboration with Saint Joseph Mercy Health System and the Health Department began at several skilled nursing facilities and Delonis Shelter locations throughout the county and continues with the announcement of larger, community testing opportunities in the Ypsilanti area.

The Washtenaw County Health Department provides data on cases by zip code, as well as cases, hospitalizations, and deaths by race, sex, and age on its website. The data show disproportionate impact among our Black or African American community members, who have comprised 35 percent of cases, 43 percent of hospitalizations, and 27 percent of deaths due to COVID-19 as of April 29. Only 12 percent of Washtenaw County residents identify as Black or African American. Nearly half of all cases in Washtenaw reside in the 48197 and 48198 zip codes. Twenty-nine percent of Washtenaw County’s population lives in these zip codes. More information about the roots of these disparities can be found here.

REMEMBER: Discrimination harms public health. We know viruses do not discriminate based on location, race, ethnicity, or national origin. However, viruses like COVID-19 can highlight health disparities that are deeply rooted in our society. Let’s fight this public health concern with compassion and science, not fear and discrimination.

Please continue to rely on official sources of information for local (www.washtenaw.org/covid19), state (www.michigan.gov/coronavirus), and national (http://www.cdc.gov/COVID19) updates.

Resources on Cloth Face Coverings

Resources from Washtenaw County Health Department

The Washtenaw County Health Department promotes health and works to prevent disease and injury in our community. Our mission is to assure, in partnership with the community, the conditions necessary for people to live healthy lives through prevention and protection programs. To learn more visit washtenaw.org/health or call 734-544-6700.