The Saginaw County Health Department announced public health system partners will begin operating sampling and screening sites to test for COVID-19.
In order to get tested, a patient must receive a lab order from their doctor or healthcare provider.
"All tests have to be done with a physician order. So if you don't have a physician order then you are not going to be able to have testing done," said Delicia Pruitt, medical director for the Saginaw County Health Department.
If someone is experiencing fever, cough and shortness of breath, they need to contact their healthcare provider for possible testing.
"We're excited to announce that we actually have three locations for out-patient sampling and screening. Now I say sampling because the tests are actually going to be performed at Quest. What is happening at these sites are the nasal swabbing that will be done," Pruitt said.
Great Lakes Bay Health Center is now testing in the parking lot of the David R. Gamez community health center on Lapeer Street in Saginaw on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Covenant is offering testing Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Visiting Nurses Association on Hamilton Street in Saginaw.
The State of Michigan will offer another screening site in Saginaw. Patients will receive this location by their provider.
“We are trying to expand the number of tests offered in the community to better determine the spread of disease,” Pruitt said. “Health Department staff and our public health system partners will conduct contact tracing and monitoring for positive COVID-19 individuals and their contacts.”
Pruitt said there is still a shortage of COVID-19 tests, so these screening sites are for targeted patients.
"Most asymptomatic people, those are people with no symptoms at all, won't be tested right now. It's those people who have symptoms who are and are at medium risk, they've had contact or possible exposure to someone with COVID-19," Pruitt said.
"It's a great public health surveillance and that's really why we're expanding the testing," said Christina Harrington, health officer for the Saginaw County Health Department.
Harrington said although the tests are limited, it's important to keep things moving in the right direction.
"We're trying to get a better handle in terms of the possible numbers by expanding that testing so we can see just how widespread is the disease in our community," Harrington said.
The Saginaw County Health Department’s informational hotline for COVID-19 is 989-758-3828.