Flint, Hurley, state partner to provide drive-through COVID-19 testing

FLINT — Drive through testing will soon begin in Flint, thanks to the collaborative efforts of the City of Flint, State of Michigan, and Hurley Medical Center.

Testing was scheduled to begin yesterday (April 15).

Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley and state Rep. Cynthia Neeley worked in partnership with the state and the local medical community to bring the drive-through testing option to Flint.

“Thank you to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Hurley Hospital and our other partners for stepping up so that we can fill this critical need in our community,” Mayor Neeley said. “We know our community has been especially hard hit and testing is an important tool to combat this deadly disease.”

With the state of Michigan’s commitment to provide the tests, Hurley Medical Center agreed to provide the medical personnel and other support to conduct the testing.

City of Flint Health Adviser Dr. Lawrence Reynolds Flint said testing is important to get a more accurate picture of the virus and heath trends.

“This is a new virus that jumped from animals to humans. We have limited experience, so testing is one of the initial steps to find how this virus affects different populations with different resources,” Dr. Reynolds said. “Testing gives us an idea of what we have to do and for how long.”

Reynolds said Flint has some of the hardest hit zip codes in Genesee County and that coronavirus is disproportionately impacting the African-American population, especially African-American men.

As of April 10, 351 cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Flint, 42 percent of the cases reported in Genesee County. With 827 cases, Genesee County follows only the tri-county metro-Detroit counties of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb for the highest number of cases in Michigan.

Countywide, African-Americans account for 48 percent of cases and 56 percent of deaths, but just 20 percent of the overall population.

Hurley Medical Center plans to operate a drive through clinic Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at Atwood Stadium. Patients will enter through the West 1st Street entrance.

A call-in number will be announced to help those seeking testing. Additional details will be announced as soon as possible.

More partnerships are being pursued that could allow for additional expansion of Flint testing options soon.

“The heroes at Hurley Medical Center have always been there for the people of Flint,” Mayor Neeley said. “For generations we have turned to them for lifesaving interventions and to fulfill our critical needs. We appreciate them every day, but it is at times like this that we are reminded how much Hurley means to this community.” — G.G.