State officials urge more Michigan residents to get tested for coronavirus
Wed, 05/27/2020 - 3:45pm caleb
Executive Order 2020-104 allows licensed physician’s assistants, nurses, and pharmacists to ‘establish and administer a COVID-19 testing service’
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
The State of Michigan continues its effort to get more people tested for COVID-19 by adding more community test sites and allowing more types of healthcare workers to conduct testing services.
On Tuesday, May 26, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-104 – “increasing COVID-19 testing by expanding the scope of practice for certain professionals and encouraging the establishment of community testing locations” – and urged more people in the state to get tested for the coronavirus.
“It is my hope that anyone in these guidelines get out and get tested. The more people that get tested the better,” Governor Whitmer said on May 26. “We can get a better appreciation for how real COVID-19 is, how many people are really carrying it. That gives us a much stronger position to make determinations about when we can safely take that next step forward.”
“Under Executive Order 2020-104, anyone who leaves their home for work, or has symptoms of COVID-19 (even mild symptoms), may receive a test at a community testing location without securing a doctor’s order in advance. Medical personnel will be available to order testing upon arrival,” according to a May 26 recent press release from the governor’s office. “Michiganders eligible for testing include someone who: Exhibits any symptom of COVID-19, including mild symptoms; Has been exposed to a person with COVID-19; Has been working outside their home for at least 10 days; Resides in any congregate setting, such as a long-term care facility, prison or jail, homeless shelter, or migrant camp.”
Executive Order 2020-104 allows more licensed healthcare professionals – including nurses and pharmacists – to conduct testing services. “A licensee holding one of the following license types may establish and administer a COVID-19 testing service without an additional state license or permit at any site, with permission from the person with the right to occupy and exclude others from the property: physician’s assistant; advanced practice registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, or registered professional nurse; pharmacist.”
“This creates a new category of community testing sites that offer testing to anyone with reason to be tested without an order and without charging out of pocket costs to any Michigander,” Governor Whitmer said. “Anyone who leaves their (home for work) or who has symptoms of COVID-19, even mild symptoms, may receive a test at a community testing location without securing a doctor’s order in advance.”
The governor urged state residents who would like to be tested for the coronavirus to call Michigan’s COVID-19 hotline at 1-888-535-6136 or use the website www.michigan.gov/coronavirus and click on the “Find A Testing Site Near You” link.
The COVID-19 Test Finder website offers multiple options. One is a link to “a list of locations across the state currently providing testing at no cost.”
The “No Cost Testing” website, as of Monday, June 1, listed close to 50 locations to get tested, but most are located in the southern part of the Lower Peninsula. Wayne County had 12 locations listed. Genesee County, Oakland County, Berrien County, Jackson County, Macomb County, Monroe County, Saginaw County, Washtenaw County, Isabella County, and Muskegon County all had multiple locations. All of these counties are located in the southern half of the Lower Peninsula.
Bay County, Calhoun County, Huron County, Ingham County, Kalamazoo County, Montmorency County, St. Clair County, Kent County, and Eaton County each have one no-cost testing site listed.
The only one located in northern Michigan is the Montmorency County site, the Thunder Bay Community Health Service in Atlanta. The phone number listed for appointments is (989) 733-6827. Montmorency County is located east of Otsego County, northeast of Crawford County, and north of Oscoda County.
The other search option on the website is the COVID-19 Test Site Finder, which allows users to select a state and a county to locate testing facilities.
As of June 1, the site did not have Crawford County, Oscoda County, Kalkaska County, or Missaukee County in its list of selectable options.
In Roscommon County, the Test Site Finder lists MidMichigan Community Health Services Urgent Care Clinic (9249 W. Lake City Road, Houghton Lake, 48629) as an option. “Testing available for all essential workers (anyone required to report to work in person), first responders, and individuals who have received an order from their primary care provider. Patients should call (989) 422-5122 prior to going in to be screened,” according to the site.
In Otsego County, McLaren Northern Michigan Gaylord Family Practice Clinic (1320 E M32, Gaylord, 49735) is listed as an option. “Testing is available for community members who have a lab order from their primary care provider or specialist. This is not a walk-in service,” according to the site. The phone number for the clinic is listed as (989) 731-5092.
In Antrim County, the Bellaire Family Health Center (4955 S-M88 Highway, Bellaire, 49615) is included in the Test Site Finder directory. “Drive-thru testing is available by appointment only for those with a doctor’s order or who are prescreened by calling (231) 222-2320,” according to the site.
The website lists MidMichigan Urgent Care – West Branch (640 M-30, West Branch, 48661) as an option for testing in Ogemaw County. “Patients may be scheduled for an appointment via their MidMichigan Health primary care physician or the MidMichigan Health Virtual Clinic, which can be reached at (888) 591-0500. Patients may also present directly to the MidMichigan Urgent Care – West Branch without an appointment to be screened for testing,” according to the site.
Though not listed on the COVID-19 Test Finder site, Munson Healthcare Grayling Hospital has completed 640 coronavirus tests as of Monday, June 1, according to Munson Healthcare. Munson Healthcare, on its online COVID-19 Tracker, listed 5,241 total coronavirus tests within its eight northern Michigan hospitals as of Monday, June 1.
According to Munson Healthcare, to be tested for COVID-19 at one of its facilities, you must first contact your “healthcare provider.”
“Your primary care provider will give you direction regarding testing. A doctor’s order is required for COVID-19 testing,” according to www.munsonhealthcare.org.
“To help prevent the further spread of COVID-19 and provide protections against the dangers to this state posed by the COVID-19 emergency, it is reasonable and necessary to enable a broader range of qualified medical professionals to order COVID-19 tests and to encourage the establishment of community testing locations by reducing barriers to siting and staffing such test sites,” according to Executive Order 2020-104.
Executive Order 2020-104 also includes regulations for facilities performing COVID-19 testing.
“One of the most powerful tools that we have in the fight against this virus is widespread testing. We need to keep working to expand testing and require people who test positive to isolate from others so we can prevent that community spread,” Governor Whitmer said. “We are working incredibly hard to make it easier for everyone to get tested.”