Kalamazoo County Gets New COVID-19 Test Site

Apr 7, 2020

A nurse takes a sample at a drive-thru COVID-19 coronavirus testing station at the University of Washington in Seattle on March 17, 2020 (file photo)
Credit Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Kalamazoo County is opening a new coronavirus testing site. But it's not open to just anyone.

County health officials say the new collection facility will only accept people who have an appointment and an order from their doctor. That's according to County Health and Community Services Department spokeswoman Lyndi Warner.

"The new collection site is going to be by appointment only. It is also for pre-screened patients as well."

It's a collaboration between the county's health department, the Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine, and the Region Five Medical Coalition.

County Health Officer Jim Rutherford says COVID-19 test kits are still in short supply.

"This is a limited supply that we have available. We haven't gotten any guarantees that it will be replenished over time, so we're taking advantage of a supply we have. And it's not a significant supply but it gives the ability to have this type of exercise."

As of April 7, Kalamazoo County had 64 confirmed coronavirus cases. That's a relatively low number. But Rutherford says that's affected by the limited supply of testing supplies.

We do want to remind residents in the community that they shouldn't base their decision-making on going out upon the number of cases we've identified. We know that there are a lot more cases, most likely positive cases, within Kalamazoo County and we want the community to understand that."

Kalamazoo County's chief medical officer, Dr. William Nettleton, says it's hard to say when the coronavirus pandemic will reach its peak. He compares the pandemic to a marathon.

"And that we pace ourselves and we anticipate going uphill some days and some weeks, and we go downhill some other weeks. We'll continue to run this race together in partnership with our community."