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Michigan rolling out free COVID testing at welcome centers and airports

State now offering free rapid COVID testing at Welcome Centers and airports
Posted at 6:31 PM, Apr 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-26 23:17:57-04

LANSING, Mich. — State health officials are getting creative when it comes to getting accurate COVID rates. A newly unveiled program will offer testing at rest stops and airports to make it more convenient for people traveling in and out of the state.

“Two peaks that we’re gonna see here in the next few months. One is the returning of the snowbird from Arizona and Florida. I think you’ll see it utilized in that regard. And then in our peak summer season when we see a lot of tourists come in," says Kevin Klein of Cherry Capital Airport.

Klein said back in 2019 almost 600,000 travelers used the airport. Those numbers were down in 2020, but he hopes the program will help those numbers rebound by making travelers feel safer.

So far, the state has opened COVID rapid testing sites at Cherry Capital Airpor and two welcome centers.

Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says one of the big reasons Michigan is now offering this service is because people are not getting tested as much as they were when the pandemic started.

“We’re hoping that by doing that our testing numbers go up again. And the reason we want to do that is the more cases we detect and the earlier we detect cases we can act faster we can prevent those cases from turning into outbreaks," Bagdasarian said.

RELATED - Michigan to begin offering free COVID-19 tests for travelers at Michigan Welcome Centers, airports

She said the state is trying to set these COVID testing sites up in places where people are entering and leaving the state on a regular basis.

Testing trailers are being placed at welcome centers, but some airports will have multiple locations inside them.

Klein says it’s a good formula paired up with the other precautions airports are taking to keep everyone healthy.

“All of this system combined is what’s gonna have the travelers return to flying and that’s what we want to do is travel safely. It’s a great tool to have in the toolbox," said Klein.

Bagdasarian says anyone who tests positive will be asked to quarantine and to follow up with a provider for another test.

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