Whitmer announces new drive-up COVID-19 testing sites

LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — On Saturday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced there will soon be 13 new or expanded COVID-19 drive-thru testing sites around the state.

These sites allow people to be tested for COVID-19 without leaving their cars. 

Some of those testing sites will be in West Michigan, including Battle Creek, Benton Harbor and Kalamazoo. Officials say the drive-up site in Grand Rapids being operated by Cherry Health will be expanded. 

In addition, the use of a new commercial laboratory in Grand Rapids can run up to 3,000 tests per day, which would increase the state’s average number of results every day by about 40 percent, according to a news release. 

“Increased testing is the only way we will know where COVID-19 is in Michigan, and will guide our public health response,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan’s chief medical executive in a news release. “Along with social distancing practices such as staying home and keeping 6 feet between yourself and others if you must go out, more testing will help Michigan slow the spread of COVID-19.”

Other sites opening throughout the state include Detroit, Flint, Atlanta, Bad Axe, Bay City, Jackson and Traverse City. 

Each site will aim to serve 100 or more people starting on Monday, except for the larger sites opening in Detroit and Flint that will begin operations on later dates.

People experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms are should call ahead to see if they meet the criteria to be tested.

The state says people must meet Michigan’s coronavirus testing priority criteria to be tested at the sites, which includes:

  • Hospitalized patients
  • Symptomatic health care workers
  • Patients in group living facilities with symptoms like senior living facilities, prisons and homeless shelters
  • Patients age 65 and older with symptoms
  • Patients with underlying conditions with symptoms
  • First responders with symptoms
  • Critical infrastructure workers with symptoms

The new testing sites are part of a new partnership with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and several community health centers throughout the state. The goal is to help patients while relieving overburdened hospitals.

The drive-thru test locations are opening on a rolling basis, beginning Saturday through next week.

Here are the sites in West Michigan: