Crain’s Detroit Business
The city of Detroit has signed a contract with a New Jersey-based laboratory company to conduct drive-thru COVID-19 testing by appointment only for city residents.
BioReference Laboratories Inc. said Monday that it also will provide testing for first responders in the city at yet-unspecified locations.
“The impact that expanded testing will have on residents of the City of Detroit is immeasurable,” Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement. “Myself, and the residents of this great city are grateful for our relationship and partnership with BioReference.”
In a news conference earlier this afternoon, Duggan said he spoke with BioReference Labs and another unspecified lab company they agreed to increase the number of tests to 700 or more in Detroit.
“I was in the car on my way to my father’s burial (on Friday) when I reached (another unspecified) agreement to get 6,000 lab tests,” Duggan said, “but all other mayors and governors are doing the same thing, and that’s why it needs to be a federal response.”
BioReference Labs also is providing testing for the New York State Department of Health, the New York City Health and Hospital Corp. and the state of New Jersey.
It also is accepting specimens for COVID-19 testing from health care providers, clinics and health systems throughout the United States to promote earlier diagnosis and aid in limiting spread of infection.
“This is another example of BioReference assisting local governments around the country to provide COVID-19 testing,” said Jon R. Cohen, M.D., Executive Chairman of BioReference Laboratories. “In addition to providing the residents of Detroit increased access to testing, there are first responders in the city who are waiting to get tested and we are privileged to support the exposed men and women on the front-lines in Detroit.”
The Detroit Medical Center has created a COVID-19 hotline for anyone with questions regarding the virus. Call 1-888-DMC-3370.
Providers should refer to the most current CDC guidelines for further information on appropriate testing of patients. Click here for more information.
Over the past week, a growing number of hospitals have been offering drive-thru coronavirus swab tests. They include Beaumont Health’s eight hospitals, St. Joseph Mercy Health System hospitals, Henry Ford Health System hospitals and St. John Hospital and Medical Center.
Rob Casalou, president and CEO of Livonia-based Trinity Health’s Michigan region, said hospital leaders in Southeast Michigan have been discussing ways to further expand testing with the city of Detroit.
“All the health systems are interested in us working with the city and the Wayne County and we will explore the possibility to be able to set up remote testing sites for people to be referred to,” Casalou said on Saturday. “We’re setting up (drive-through testing sites) on our own campuses or near campuses. So they’re not all up and running.”
Besides limited number of COVID-19 test kits, another major limitation to expanded testing is lack of personal protective equipment, primarily N95 respirator masks. For now, there seems to be enough gloves and gowns, although those numbers are dwindling.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Monday morning that Michigan received an allocation from the federal government of masks, gloves and gowns, but that it only was enough to supply one medium hospital for one shift.
“I can’t do overnight what the federal government should have done the past two months,” Whitmer said. “This is nowhere near enough. … We must do more to curtail the curve of the spread” of coronavirus.
Crain’s reporter Annalise Frank contributed to this report.
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