New COVID-19 testing site opens in Kalamazoo

Public Health Dept. opens testing site for healthcare workers, first responders, senior citizens
Posted at 7:19 PM, Apr 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-09 07:09:39-04

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — An additional coronavirus testing site opened in Kalamazoo on Wednesday morning.

The Kalamazoo County Public Health and Community Services Department opened a testing site on their parking lot off of Alcott Street.

“We’re excited about it because it creates another opportunity for some additional testing to be done within the community,” said Health Officer Jim Rutherford in a phone interview with FOX 17. “We know that from the beginning testing has been a significant challenge.”

Rutherford said Borgess Hospital and Bronson Hospital have been testing patients and collecting samples for some time.

Similar to those locations, the site will only take samples from patients who have been pre-screened and received an appointment from a provider.

He added that when patients drive to the site, they won’t have to leave their vehicles in order to get tested.

“The intent is to try to isolate people, keep them in their cars. We have staff from [Western Michigan University School of Medicine] as well as some of our staff that’ll be undertaking this,” Rutherford said. “Basically, we’ll be providing the sample, which is a swab that’s inserted through the nose and collects a sample from the back of the throat.”

Rutherford added that the tests aren’t for everyone who’s experiencing the symptoms, which are coughing, chest pains and a high fever. They have limited supplies and test kits and are reserving them for certain groups of people.

“So this is still limited to healthcare facility workers that are symptomatic, patients over the age of 65 with symptoms, and patients with underlying conditions and symptoms, as well as first responders that are exhibiting symptoms," Rutherford said.

Test results are expected to return to the patient 2-4 days after the samples are taken, he said.

In the meantime, he recommended everyone continue to wash their hands and practice social distancing.

"Don’t take anything for granted at this point and time," Rutherford said. "We’re still not at the top of this curve yet and we’ve been very fortunate. But, you know, we’ve also experienced some deaths. So, this is a real situation that people really have to take seriously."