The City of Flint released the following information today following a brief televideo press conference. EVM Staff Writer Madeleine Graham contributed to this report.
The Mass Transportation Authority (MTA) announced today it will offer rides for asymptomatic individuals seeking COVID-19 testing.
In addition, Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley announced drive-through testing will return for a second weekend, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (May 30 and 31) at Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church.
Testing is free and there are no prerequisites to be eligible for the testing at Shiloh. Medically-trained members of the National Guard will do the test, which takes less than 60 seconds, Neeley said.
The added dates follow a turnout of 500 at the first Shiloh testing program–About 70 had to be turned away, Neeley said, suggesting there was an ongoing need. He said organizers will expand from three to five testing tents this weekend.
The length of time to travel through the line depends on how many are present to be tested.
“We know access to transportation is a major hurdle for many in our community,” said Ed Benning, general manager and CEO of the Mass Transportation Authority. “As more testing becomes available, we want to help our community to be able to access those services.”
“MTA recognizes that individuals in the community today who are asymptomatic, not showing any signs of the virus, but would like to be tested” through the city and the county might need public transportation. Your Ride will provide that service, he explained.
Rides to testing locations are provided by MTA only for those who are NOT ill. Rides are being offered to testing locations countywide. Call 810-767-5541 (east Flint) or 810-233-4751 (west Flint) to reserve a ride. Regular fare rates will apply. (For contact information for all Your Ride locations countywide, go to www.mtaflint.org/your-ride.
All riders must wear a mask, by executive order of Gov. Whitmer and requirements of the MTA, Benning said. If a rider does not have a mask, one will be provided.
Individuals who are sick should seek treatment through their physician or call 911 for assistance.
The second weekend of drive-through testing is a partnership of the State of Michigan, through Gov. Gretchen Whitmer; State Rep. Cynthia Neeley; the Michigan National Guard; the City of Flint; and Genesee County Health Department.
It was not initially clear whether Your Ride transport would be available to Shiloh, as that site is set up for auto drive-through, not pedestrians. This may be worked out before the weekend as Neeley offered to explore the possibilities with Rep. Neeley, the Governor’s office and the National Guard.
In the meantime, however, he pointed out there are at least 14 other testing locations throughout Genesee County.
“Partnerships like these are what make our community strong,” Neeley said.
MTA relaunched its fixed-route buses on May 18 following a coronavirus shutdown, and has instituted additional safety precautions throughout its service operations. Vehicles are being sanitized and all drivers are equipped with protective equipment.
“MTA is committed to the well-being of this entire community. I am thankful for the hardwork and dedication of all MTA employees to help make this happen,” said Bryant Nolden, chair of the MTA board of directors and a county commissioner.
EVM staff writer Madeleine Graham contributed to this report.