State program offers free COVID-19 testing at Kirtland
Thu, 09/03/2020 - 3:01pm caleb
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services joins forces with communities to bolster coronavirus testing efforts
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
Kirtland Community College’s Four Mile Road campus is now one of several COVID-19 Neighborhood Testing Sites located in the state of Michigan, offering area residents a local option to get a free coronavirus test.
“The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is partnering with community organizations to launch” the Neighborhood Testing Sites program, at first offering free COVID-19 testing locations in “Detroit, Albion, Ecorse, Flint, Grayling, and Roseville,” according to an announcement from the office of Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday, September 2, with future sites to include “Benton Harbor, Grand Rapids, Lansing, Muskegon, Niles, Saginaw, and Wayne.”
“To ensure that COVID-19 testing is accessible for all Michiganders, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is partnering with community organizations to launch 12 Neighborhood Testing Sites by the end of the week and more than 20 across the state in coming weeks,” Governor Whitmer said during a televised update to the state on Wednesday, September 2.
Governor Whitmer said the initiative “will make it easier for Michiganders to access testing near home.”
“Testing will be free and hosted by trusted community partners, including churches and community colleges and nonprofit organizations,” Governor Whitmer said.
Kirtland Community College is one of the Neighborhood Testing Sites. According to the governor’s office and the college, the testing site at the Grayling campus – located at 4800 West Four Mile Road – will be available on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. starting on Saturday, September 5.
The testing site is not inside of the normal campus buildings; it is “in an auxiliary building isolated from other college functions, and designed for easy in and out,” according to the college.
“Testing will be performed at an outbuilding on the northeast corner of the Kirtland Grayling parking lot,” according to the college. “Guests can check in online to secure a place in line, making it easy to safely wait in a car or at a safe social distance from the testing site. The saliva-based testing takes less than 15 minutes to perform. Guests are asked to arrive wearing a face mask and with an insurance card if possible; however, insurance and doctor’s notes are not required.”
According to the announcement from the governor’s office, the saliva tests “are less invasive than nasal swabs and may make the testing process more tolerable for some people. Appointments are strongly encouraged and can be made either by calling the COVID-19 hotline at 888-535-6136 and selecting ‘1’ or online. Walk-ins will be taken as space allows, but pre-registration is strongly advised. Online registration is available at Michigan.gov/CoronavirusTest through Solv. Both patients who book online in advance or walk in to a testing site can use a mobile device to fill out their information including name, date of birth, and phone number. Test results can be obtained via phone, email, or by logging into the results portal.”
Kirtland Community College’s COVID-19 website at www.kirtland.edu/coronavirus also has a registration link for people looking to set up a test.
“We are working to remove as many barriers as possible to ensure COVID-19 testing is accessible for all Michiganders,” Governor Whitmer said via press release. “After looking closely at the data and working with community partners, we believe these sites will provide the greatest access to testing for Michiganders across the state. We appreciate the willingness of these community partners to open their doors for this very important effort.”
Kirtland Community College officials said the free COVID-19 testing is open to “students, faculty, staff, and the public.”
“Having a facility to test and track in the event of a positive COVID-19 case offers a great opportunity for our students and staff to monitor their health during this pandemic,” said Tom Quinn, President of Kirtland Community College. “Free testing is one way we’re working to keep our campus community safe, while also providing a needed service to the people of Grayling, the surrounding area, and the counties of northern Michigan.”
“Michigan remains committed to making sure anyone who needs a test can get a test. This includes people who don’t have symptoms but may have been exposed and that’s incredibly important,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Chief Medical Executive and Chief Deputy Director for Health for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
“Expanding testing saves lives and protects the brave men and women who have stayed on the front lines throughout this crisis,” Governor Whitmer said. “So this is one of the most crucial fights that we have in continuing to fight this virus. This is an incredibly important tool and we’re going to continue to do everything we can to help Michiganders access it.”