Michigan receives $14 million to help combat coronavirus testing shortfall

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Courtesy; MLive

Michigan’s daily coronavirus testing is at about 17% of what it should be, according to a recent Harvard Global Health Report. New federal funds may help close that gap.

According to MLive, thirty-nine Michigan health centers that serve the “nation’s most vulnerable” are set to split $14 million in grants received through the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act for the expansion of COVID-19 testing, according to U.S. Sen. Gary Peters’s office.

“From the onset of this pandemic, it has been clear that we must dramatically increase our testing capabilities and access to testing,” said Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, who helped secure the grant funds, in a statement released Friday evening. “This federal funding will help Michigan health care centers determine who has coronavirus and can help prevent the spread of this devastating virus.”

The top five recipients include: Cherry Street Service of Grand Rapids, $1.1 million; Great Lakes Bay Health Centers of Saginaw, $953,869; Intercare Community Health Network of Bangor, $737,464; Family Health Centers of Kalamazoo, $584,749; and Alcona Citizens for Health of Lincoln, $569,344.

Full list of recipients

The government defines a health center as “community-based and patient-directed organizations that deliver comprehensive, culturally competent, high-quality primary health care services “and “often integrate access to pharmacy, mental health, substance use disorder, and oral health services in areas where economic, geographic, or cultural barriers limit access to affordable health care services.”

While Michigan is increasing the number of coronavirus tests administered each day, it’s nowhere near targets the Harvard Global Health Institute determined would be necessary to safely reopen the state.

The Harvard Global Health Institute report is based the number of tests it calculated would be necessary to identify every coranvirus case.

The report said Michigan would need to administer 58,081 tests per day by May 15 to meet that target. As of May 6, using testing data available over the prior week, Michigan was testing an average of 10,257 people per day. That’s up from an average daily total of 7,922 over the prior week.

While testing is on the rise, the number of positive tests, which accounted for 8.8% of results in the week leading up to May 6, are on the decline. Positive tests accounted for 12.4% of results the week prior.

“Widespread testing will not only help contain the spread of COVID-19 and keep our families safe, but is also essential to safely restarting our economy and getting people back to work,” said U.S. Sen. Debbie Senator Stabenow, D-Lansing, who joined up with Peters to push for the health center grants. “This funding for our health centers moves us one step closer to that goal.”

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