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Shortages affect COVID-19 testing around Mid-Michigan

Longer lines and longer waits for results are likely
Published: Nov. 19, 2020 at 7:09 PM EST
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MID-MICHIGAN (WJRT) - Ahead of Thanksgiving and the holiday travel season, there have been concerns about shortages of COVID-19 tests.

Demand for the tests has increased in Michigan over the past month following a statewide surge in cases. As a result, getting tested for COVID-19 more than likely isn’t going to be like it was a month ago, when patients were in and out in just a matter of minutes.

“Obviously people want to go get tested and more and more people are having symptoms, so the demand has skyrocketed,” said Bay County Health Officer Joel Strasz.

He said there have been no reports of any widespread shortages of coronavirus tests, but capacity at some testing clinics has been stressed and they may consider cutting back.

Some clinics around Mid-Michigan are requiring referrals for testing or only offering tests to patients with coronavirus symptoms. Health officials say people should call ahead to a testing location to find out their current policies.

Drive-through COVID-19 testing sites are getting busier.

“Be prepared to wait in line for testing, like for example the Great Lakes Bay Health Centers. They do testing on Monitor Road here in Bay County and they do testing in Saginaw County and other locations and they are overwhelmed right now,” Strasz said.

He still encourages anyone with COVID-19 symptoms to get a test. But because the demand is high for testing right now, expect a delay again in getting those test results.

“We’re waiting generally four to six days on those test results and that can be problematic for a case investigation,” Strasz said.

He advises everyone to remain in quarantine while waiting for test results to prevent the potential for further spread of the coronavirus.

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