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Grand Rapids lab will start processing 3,000 COVID-19 tests a day

NxGen Laboratory will begin to run more than 3,000 COVID-19 tests a day.
Credit: AP
A healthcare worker shows a package with items used for testing people for COVID-19 at a drive-thru testing site at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital, Wednesday, March 25, 2020, in West Bloomfield, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A commercial lab in Grand Rapids is helping to expand the state's capability to test for COVID-19. 

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced Saturday that the Michigan Primary Care Association is partnering with NxGen MDx labs to operate additional testing sites throughout the state. 

NxGen MDx will begin to run more than 3,000 COVID-19 tests a day, increasing the state's average number of results by about 40% .

The state announced the help of this lab along with the news that 13 drive-thru testing sites are being developed or expanded. There will be nine new sites across the state plus a large-scale testing site in Detroit. 

RELATED: Michigan ramps up testing with new drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites

Existing drive-thru locations in Grand Rapids, Lansing, and Saginaw will increase their capacity to test and serve at least 100 patients a day. 

"We are seeing some very early data that suggests that growth rate for positive cases may be slowing, but there's still not enough testing happening across our state," said Michigan's Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun in Thursday's press conference. She then said the state was working to increase testing so officials have a better idea of where the virus has spread and how to mitigate it. 

“Increased testing is the only way we will know where COVID-19 is in Michigan, and will guide our public health response,” said Khaldun. “Along with social distancing practices such as staying home and keeping 6 feet between yourself and others if you must go out, more testing will help Michigan slow the spread of COVID-19.”

People are asked to get screened via telephone before getting tested for COVID-19. Michigan’s testing priority criteria include: 

  • Hospitalized patients.
  • Symptomatic healthcare workers.
  • Patients in congregate facilities with symptoms, including those at:
    • Long-term care or elderly living facilities.
    • Jails or prisons.
    • Homeless shelters.
    • Residential foster care facilities.
    • Other group living settings.
  • Patients age 65 and older with symptoms.
  • Patients with underlying conditions with symptoms.
  • First responders with symptoms.
  • Critical infrastructure workers with symptoms.

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