City of Detroit works to clear up misinformation on cost of COVID rapid tests

Test kits only cost $37, officials say

The City of Detroit is working to clear up misinformation about the cost of rapid tests.

DETROIT – How much is the City of Detroit paying for rapid COVID tests?

Over the weekend a document was shared online that said Detroit was spending more than $800 per test. That was not true.

There were two layers of misinformation and confusion to clear up. The first, was the claim that the city was paying hundreds of dollars for the tests and another about the kinds of COVID tests people were talking about.

A Twitter user claimed that Detroit was paying $888 per test for Abbott Health COVID tests, according to a request for federal money. That was not true. But the claim was shared by thousands online.

Read: Michigan reports 61,235 new COVID cases, 298 deaths -- average of 12,247 cases per day

“Each test itself is $37. What was quoted in that document was the test kit, which has 24 individual tests inside of it,” COO of the City of Detroit Hakim Berry said.

After that was cleared up, a second false claim was made. That the city was paying three times retail price for the test. That wasn’t true either. Users online were conflating two kinds of tests, the higher grade lab tests that cost $37 and the cheaper at home BinaxNOW brand name tests that were being given out at Huntington Place over the holiday weekend.

This all comes as tests are increasingly hard to find with cases, hospitalizations and deaths all spiking. Fear and confusing is leading to misplaced anger over misinformation.

Those at home tests were being given out at Huntington Place over the weekend as a courtesy because the demand is so high. The city was able to get 30,000 from the state’s health department.

Read: Complete COVID coverage


About the Authors:

Grant comes to Local 4 from Oklahoma City. He joins the news team as co-anchor of Local 4 News Today weekend mornings and is a general assignment reporter.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.