MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich. — Anyone who wants to get tested for COVID-19 in Muskegon County can do so this weekend.
The Michigan National Guard, the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and local partners are all teaming up to provide free testing to all Muskegon County residents.
This widespread testing will provide thousands of no-cost COVID-19 tests to any resident, regardless of whether they're exhibiting symptoms or been exposed to a positive coronavirus case.
“This announcement is good news for Muskegon families, health care professionals, and first responders,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “Widespread testing will be the most crucial tool we have in protecting Michiganders from COVID-19 and lowering the chance of a second wave. I will continue to work closely with our partners in state government and everyone else who wants to help us reach our goal of performing 450,000 COVID-19 tests in May.”
As of Friday, Muskegon County reported 552 positive cases of COVID-19 and 26 deaths related to the virus. Most of the cases have been found in the city of Muskegon and Muskegon Heights.
“My concern is that COVID-19 has had a disproportionate and devastating impact on Muskegon Heights,” said Troy Bell, City Manager of the City of Muskegon Heights. “You can’t fight what you can’t see. Getting testing is critical to our recovery and I am encouraging all our citizens to come out this weekend to take advantage of this opportunity.”
In West Michigan, Kent County reports the highest number of coronavirus cases with 3,231. The Kent County Health Department has also been focusing on ramping up testing among vulnerable populations, like people experiencing homelessness and long term care facilities.
Regionally, behind Kent County, Ottawa County reports the second highest number of cases with 737 cases as of Friday. The county reports it has conducted nearly 10,000 tests on Ottawa County residents. Muskegon County has conducted about half that amount.
Muskegon Heights Mayor Walter Watt also noted the importance of widespread testing, which will help health officials understand how the virus has spread among a community.
“Everybody is looking forward to things getting back to normal,” said Watt. “The only way to do that is through COVID-19 testing. It is vitally important that we test as many of our citizens as we can to ensure their health is as it should be.”
Drive-through and walk-up testing will be offered at the Muskegon Heights Farmers Market at 2600 Baker Street, Muskegon Heights. The testing will start at 11 a.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. on Sunday; it will run until 5 p.m. both days.
The United Way is asking for volunteers to help with traffic control and paperwork. Volunteers can sign up here.
The Michigan National Guard has been assisting with the state's response to COVID-19, including helping with mass testing with the Michigan Department of Corrections and nursing home facilities.
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