Understanding the testing process for COVID-19

Michigan

A health worker administers a coronavirus test at a drive-through testing site organized by actor Sean Penn’s nonprofit organization Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE) at Malibu City Hall in Malibu, California. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

As Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, is expanding the criteria to get tested for COVID-19, more people are heading to the testing sites.

It’s not just as easy as just driving up to the nearest testing site near you.

“If you are an essential worker reporting to work in person, whether you have symptoms or not. Please get tested. You don’t need a prescription to get tested, you don’t need a health care provider to refer you.” Said Governor Gretchen Whitmer, (D) Michigan.

As the Governor announced last week, all Michiganders on the front lines during the pandemic, can now get tested for COVID-19.

This includes, everyone still going into work, but there is still come confusion around the process.
In Ingham County, Health Officer Linda Vail says if you’re experiencing symptoms or leaving your home to go to work, you’re asked to call your doctor first.

You don’t have to have a primary care physician.

“If you go to a Urgent Care, they can take you without an order, but they will register you and essentially create that order for the test.”

Once that order is placed, Vail says you will be directed to a testing site.

If you don’t go to a doctor or urgent care, you need to call your county health department.

“There’s going to be an assessment and a screening process, for our purposes that creates an an equivalent of an order for that test to go through.”

All county run drive-thru testing sites are by appointment only.

You could have to wait hours to get an appointment or sometimes days.

“It really just depends on how busy they are and which one you happened to call. And is that one particularly busy compared to a different one.”

Vail says testing should only take between 10 and 15 minutes and it can be anywhere from 24 hours to several days, to get your results back.

Statement from Governor Whitmer: “There is priority testing.  For example, a hospitalized patient and a health care worker with symptoms will be able to get a test ahead of an essential worker without symptoms. We are opening the door to testing additional populations, but the criteria still prioritizes those who are at the greatest risk first.”

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