The state health department announced Friday a new feature on its COVID-19 test finder that lists wait times for many testing sites across Michigan.
Officials hope this will make testing easier, particularly for those traveling for spring break or gathering with relatives or friends during Easter and other upcoming holidays.
State health officials encourage Michiganders to test for COVID-19 before and after traveling as well as before gatherings with people who have increased vulnerability from infection. Test sites can be found at Michigan.gov/COVIDTest.
“We have excellent, effective tools to travel safely and gather with loved ones this spring,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, chief medical executive for the state health department.
“Testing has become extremely convenient, with many locations and the availability of over-the-counter tests. We recommend Michiganders test if traveling and stay home if they are ill. Additionally, receiving the COVID-19 vaccine remains one of the most effective ways to prevent severe illness and disease.”
Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations have plunged in Michigan and across the country recently, with Michigan reporting about 921 new cases each day Thursday and Friday and 892 people, adults and children, hospitalized with confirmed cases of the virus, according to state data Friday.
The new pandemic risk measurements by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated Thursday that eight counties in Michigan now are at a high level of community risk; 41 are at a medium level, and 34 are at a low level, including Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Lapeer, Livingston and Genesee counties. Washtenaw and Monroe counties are listed as medium, and St. Clair and Sanilac are among those listed as high.
Health officials say testing supports early identification of cases in communities. If you test positive, you should isolate immediately, avoid travel and gatherings and seek medical care, if needed.
Over-the-counter COVID-19 tests are more readily available now. Free tests also are available to households through a federal program at covidtests.gov, the state’s MI Backpack Home Testing program for students in K-12 schools and The Rockefeller Foundation, which is offering free tests to residents in eligible communities.
Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order four, free at-home COVID-19 tests at covidtests.gov and starting next week, they will be able to order an additional set of four tests. The tests come in the mail.
The CDC also offers travel tips, including recommendations of when and where to mask.
The state health department continues to urge Michiganders to get vaccinated and boosted; learn about therapeutics if you test positive; isolate and quarantine, if needed, when you are sick; get tested if you are exposed or have symptoms; pick up masks, many of which are free through state or government programs, and practice good hygiene.
Contact Christina Hall: [email protected] Follow her on Twitter: @challreporter.
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