MDHHS increases COVID-19 testing as cases surge

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Posted at 4:05 PM, Mar 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-30 16:05:23-04

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is ramping up COVID-19 testing throughout the state and urging residents to continue mitigation practices that help slow the spread of the virus.

Cases have recently surged in Michigan, with several metro areas having the highest case rates in the entire country.

“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 COVID-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.”

Health officials worry about the presence of more infectious variants, such as B.1.1.7, threatening the state’s progress in controlling the pandemic.

“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.”

More than 1.4 million antigen tests have been sent to long-term care facilities, and more than 72,000 free tests have been conducted at neighborhood testing sites in socially vulnerable communities and continue to provide testing.

More than 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, which the state says is vital to ensuring schools can remain open.

Free post-spring break testing pop-up sites are planned for school districts in 34 communities.

In addition, testing sites at welcome centers and Michigan airports are in the works for returning travelers.