Ottawa Lake, Michigan (WTVG) – New COVID-19 testing options are in the works for the state of Michigan. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says while more people are getting vaccinated against the virus, they want to make sure testing is still happening.
“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 and chief deputy for health. “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.”
With concerns over variants of the virus popping up, the MDHHS says it wants to do everything possible to stop the spread.
In addition to thousands of testing options for the virus across the state, the MDHHS plans to roll out COVID-19 testing at rest stop welcome centers off the interstate and in airports across Michigan. A spokesperson for MDHSS tells 13abc details for that plan are still be worked out.
Another part of the increased testing focuses on student athletes. Starting Friday, April 2 all high school student athletes will be required to be tested for COVID-19 weekly. The program begins right before students return from Spring Break. Jason Mensing is the Athletic Director at Whiteford Agricultural Schools. He says testing 200 athletes after Spring break will be challenging but they will work to complete the task to make sure all competitors have a season.
Due to COVID-19 contact tracing and quarantine requirements, multiple teams have had to forfeit competitions in the past year.
Here are some additional details of the testing plan:
- 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. To locate a testing site near you, visit gov/Coronavirustest.
- Over 76,000 students, student-athletes and educators in K-12 schools have been tested in more than 500 school districts.
- Testing for student-athletes begins Friday, April 2. This testing program is vital to ensure school can remain open and students are able to be in the classroom.
- 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. This is based on the anticipated amount of vaccines becoming available to the state and President Biden’s directive that all adults should be eligible by May 1. As providers are scheduling appointments, they should consider an individual’s risk of exposure due to their employment and their vulnerability to severe disease in determining how to prioritize scheduling appointments. Vaccine providers with the capacity to vaccinate all individuals ages 16 years and older may do so at this time.
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