Drive-through COVID-19 testing site opens in Shelby.

April 29, 2020

DHD #10’s Elizabeth Johnson and Amanda Scorsone.

Drive-through COVID-19 testing site opens in Shelby.

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

SHELBY — A new drive-through COVID-19 testing site opened Wednesday, April 29, at Northwest Michigan Health Services, Inc., giving local residents easier access to testing.

The new testing site is located across the street from Mercy Health Partners Lakeshore campus.

Northwest Michigan Health Services, Inc. and District Health Department #10 teamed up to launch the convenient testing site.

Interested individuals should call the clinic’s COVID-19 testing hotline for an appointment at 231-642-5292. Testing is being offered to those with symptoms of COVID-19 and to essential workers without symptoms as supplies are available.

Lizette Trejo of DHD #10 serves as a greeter during the testing process.

Testing is performed Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., by appointment only. Based on demand, hours could increase.

Results are available within 48 hours, and many patients could receive results as soon as 24 hours, said Northwest Michigan Health Services Director of Programs Gwen Williams. A nasal swab is done in the person’s vehicle, so patients never need to leave their cars.

Right now, tests are performed in half-hour increments, although the testing is expected to be streamlined into 15-minute intervals, increasing capacity.

“We want to respond to the need of our community,” Williams said. Adding the drive-through site makes testing more accessible for residents who had to travel to Muskegon in order to be tested.

Nurse Practioner Amanda Scorsone prepares to administer a COVID-19 test.

“As a federally qualified health center, we are here to serve the community,” said Heidi Britton, CEO of Northwest Michigan Health Services. “We have re-tooled our organization quickly through this crisis, with the goal of continuing to meet the needs of our patients. We started providing telemedicine visits, created a dedicated COVID stress warmline staffed with behavioral health therapists, and are continuing to provide emergency dental services. We recognized the gap in testing services and are happy to be able to step in to meet that need for the community. At this time of crisis, we are ready to be part of the community’s emergency response.”

The Shelby clinic drive-through testing site at 119 S. State St. is Northwest Michigan Health Services’ second such testing site.

“Our first test site in Traverse City was opened April 13, and appointment slots were immediately filled. We have added appointments each week since then and anticipate that the same will happen at the Shelby testing site. We’re receiving a lot of calls from people in the community wanting to be tested or needing testing for employment,” said Britton.

Northwest is one of 11 community health centers across the state that is working with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to increase testing.

“DHD#10 recognizes the importance of increasing the capacity for testing locally and is happy to collaborate with our partners to create this additional testing opportunity,” said Kevin Hughes, Health Officer for District Health Department #10. DHD#10 is contributing staff and other support to the testing site.

“We are hopeful that with Michigan’s relaxed testing criteria and the increased availability of testing we will be better able to recognize the prevalence of COVID-19 in our community and thereby decrease the person-to-person spread of this disease,” notes Timothy Lambert, DO, Medical Director for Northwest Michigan Health Services. “Until now it has been a challenge to do the kind of widespread testing that will really help in curbing spread.”

In addition to supporting widespread testing efforts, Michiganders who call the state’s COVID-19 hotline and need a referral to a provider will be directed to their local community health center. As a community health center, Northwest Michigan Health Services provides care to everyone, regardless of insurance status or ability to pay. The Shelby clinic offers medical, dental and behavioral health services all under one roof to all members of the community.

“We’re proud to be serving on the frontlines of COVID-19 efforts. This is what community health centers are made to do,” said Heidi Britton.

To learn more about how community health centers in Michigan are responding to COVID-19, visit https://bit.ly/CHCResponse.

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