A new drive up COVID-19 test site will open Friday at the Michigan State Fairgrounds in Detroit thanks to a coalition of southeast Michigan governments and health care systems called the Coronavirus Community Care Network. JP Morgan Chase and Quicken Loans Inc. also are assisting with the rollout.
Made up of the Detroit Medical Center, Henry Ford Health System, Trinity Health Systems, City of Detroit, and Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties, testing will be offered from 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday, and 400 tests will be conducted per day. The samples will be taken by staff of the three health care systems from local residents, who will remain in their cars.
The samples will be tested by Bioreference Labs of New Jersey which, through a contract with the City of Detroit, has agreed to process up to 500 samples per day for the next six weeks. Results will be received within five days. JP Morgan Chase helped the city contract with Bioreference.
In order to be tested, patients must get a doctor’s order. Either the patient or the doctor can then call 313-230-0505 to schedule the appointment. Dan Gilbert, founder and chairman of Quicken Loans, has donated the call center operations of Quicken Loans and Rocket Connections to handle the appointments, which can be made from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. every day. Each hour, 50 cars will be scheduled to prevent backups and long lines.
The testing process was made possible by $300,000 from the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan and 6,000 test kits from Dr. Roberto Romero and the NIH Perinatal research Branch.
The site is expected to be the first of a set of regional sites for convenient testing. The county executives and health officers are partnering on the first site, and additional sites are expected to open in suburban Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties.
“It is imperative for us to come together to fight this pandemic, and we are pleased to offer our expertise and volunteers for the joint effort,” says Wright Lassiter III, president and CEO of Henry Ford Health System. “Having built a safe, sustainable drive-through testing site on the Henry Ford Hospital campus and each of our other hospital locations, we know how critical it is to provide alternative resources to minimize exposure and keep our health care employees safe.”
The three county executives will conduct individual Facebook Live events to explain the testing process and how it works to their constituents.
Between Friday and Friday, May 8, the site will perform 14,400 tests. The site entrance will be off W. State Fair. Appointments are scheduled up to a week in advance, and patients must first see their doctors and show COVID-19 symptoms.