DETROIT (WWJ) -- Michigan is set to see its first full-scale drive-thru testing site for COVID-19 on Friday.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and the Coronavirus Community Care Network (CCCN) announced Wednesday it is launching the drive-thru testing site at Joe Dumars Fieldhouse at the former State Fairgrounds. The location is near the Meijer store at the corner of Woodward Avenue and State Fair Avenue, just south of 8 Mile Road.
The CCCN is comprised of officials with the Detroit Medical Center, Henry Ford Health System and Trinity Health Systems, as well as the city of Detroit, Wayne County, Macomb County, Oakland County.
Testing at the site, which will be by appointment only, will require a prescription or testing order from a physician. Testing will be offered to residents of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb Counties.
Those who wish to be tested at the new site first need to consult with a doctor if they believe they have COVID-19, are showing symptoms, or have come into contact with an infected person. Doctors will then schedule an appointment at the testing site, or give patients a written prescription to receive a test and instruct them to make an appointment through the CCCN Call Center.
The call center, which Duggan says was set up with the help of Quicken Loans employees, is available at 313-230-0505, 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. daily. Those who are being tested need to bring a valid ID and the written testing order or prescription.
Duggan says they plan on testing 40 to 50 people per hour from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily in order to avoid traffic congestion and long wait times. Officials will be able to test 400-500 people daily, and in the long run, they hope to be able to test 4,000 to 5,000 people per day.
Testing is scheduled to take place from March 27 to May 8.
"We will space out the cars so you won't see long lines of cars and hours of wait. That's not going to happen," Duggan said at a news conference Wednesday.
Duggan stressed that patients who don't have symptoms of coronavirus should not get tested. It's not just a matter of trying to resources, Duggan says.
"It's been shown that if the virus hasn't progressed enough to show symptoms, the tests are not reliable. We have way too many people who were found to be negative with tests in the early stages, when in fact they have the virus. It is a waste of resources to be tested before these symptoms have appeared," he said.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered Michiganders to "stay home and stay" safe for three weeks as health officials try to curtail the spreading pandemic. The drive-thru testing option allows potential patients to be tested, while avoinding close contact inside hospitals and doctor's office, as health officials are urging social distancing -- staying at least six feet away from other people in public.
The announcement of the new testing site comes as state health officials announced another spike in the total number of cases. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reported Wednesday afternoon 43 people have died from the virus in the state, while just under 2,300 cases have been confirmed statewide.