By Tom Travis
Cars lined up in the blocks around Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church Sunday for the first day of free COVID-19 drive-through testing sponsored by the Michigan National Guard, the State of Michigan, and the City of Flint.
The testing continues tomorrow, Memorial Day, from 11 a.m to 3 p.m. in the parking lot of the church, at 2120 N. Saginaw St.
State Representative Cynthia Neeley proudly stood in the parking lot of Shiloh, which is her church, to announce, “This is a big moment for Genesee County and the City of Flint. We are the first city in the State of Michigan to offer this free testing to anyone who lives in Genesee County.”
Officials said 135 people had been tested by midway through the afternoon, with dozens of cars waiting in line.
Residents are asked to enter the parking lot from North Street and Newall Streets. The testing is free. Those being tested are asked to stay in their vehicles–it is drive-through testing. No appointment is necessary, you do not need doctor’s orders, and you do not need to be symptomatic.
Covid testing results should be received in two days
Neeley said the residents should have their results within two days. She said the Genesee County Health Department will call people with the results. The two-day COVID-19 testing is funded through Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). “We are so thankful for Governor Whitmer’s support for this testing,” Neeley said.
Neeley said, “We’re excited to be able to offer this to the community–a community who has been really outspoken about wanting to get this done. There is no criteria, just an ID is needed and to answer a few questions. You don’t have to have symptoms and you don’t have to have insurance.”
Neeley said her pastor, Dr. Daniel Moore, of Shiloh was ecstatic when he learned that “we thought enough of our church to have this done here.”
Representative Neeley and The City of Flint partners with The State of Michigan, National Guard and Genesee County Health Department
The COVID-19 testing was a partnered effort led by Neeley and the City of Flint, The Michigan National Guard and the Genesee County Health Department.
Michigan National Guard is “mobilized to help”
Major Jared Van Dop of the Michigan National Guard, stationed out of Taylor, said he had five teams made up each of three National Guards people. Van Dop said, “The National Guard, for well over a month now, has been mobilized to help the state to institute their response to the COVID virus. So we’ve been testing at areas all over the state.” Van Dop added, “These missions have presented an opportunity to actually get this type of local testing done.”
Van Dop said his National Guard team is doing the swabbing and then the specimens are collected and sent to various labs in the state. The orders for the National Guard are coming from the General of the National Guard in Michigan and the the Governor’s office, Van Dop said.
There is also a team of the Michigan National Guard helping with COVID-19 testing in Muskegon Heights, on the west side of Michigan yesterday and Sunday. The team in Flint will stay in place until testing is completed on Monday.
There were about twenty Genesee County Health Department (GCHD) officials busy collecting resident information and completing paperwork. A handful of church volunteers from Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church were on hand serving snacks, bottled water and coffee to those who wanted some.
EVM Assistant Editor Tom Travis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.