Skubick: MI lawmakers push for more COVID tests in schools, distribute anti-COVID drug

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Michigan lawmakers are moving to place more COVID-19 testing kits in our schools and expanding a program to distribute a drug that will help to keep COVID-19 victims out of the hospital.

The House Appropriations Committee is debating a $667 million program to beef up COVID-19 testing for adults and children, including $300 million to more testing kits in Michigan schools to keep students in class and not at home.

“Testing for schools is just over $300 million, making sure that our teachers, staff, and our kids have access to tests and can stay in school as much as possible,” said State Rep. Julie Calley (R-Portland).

Around $100 million of these federal dollars will go to businesses to test their workers who have not been vaccinated and another $90 million to expand the state’s current vaccination effort as Michigan lags behind the nation in vaccine doses.

With the current virus surge pushing the hospitals to their limits, this package also includes money for a drug that is given to patients who have COVID-19 with the goal of keeping them out of the ICU and keeping them alive.

“They have the power to reduce hospitalization as well as death and in order to better protect Michigan we really want to see this movement expanded,” Calley said.

There’s a double whammy in the hospitals: beds filled to the max and not enough health care workers to deal with it.

Rep. Calley tells the committee there’s money for that too.

“We definitely know that our front liners are heroes in this, so there is money for recruitment and retention grants baked into this legislation,” she said.

The package was not approved today but it’s expected to be approved soon.

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