FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 22, 2020
MDHHS CONTACT: Bob Wheaton, 517-241-2112
MVAA CONTACT: David Dunckel, 517-582-5864
LANSING, MICH. The Michigan National Guard (MING) will partner with the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA), the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), State Emergency Operations Center, Muskegon County, the City of Muskegon Heights, and numerous other local partners this weekend to offer no-cost COVID-19 tests to residents of Muskegon County.
“This announcement is good news for Muskegon families, health care professionals, and first responders,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “Widespread testing will be the most crucial tool we have in protecting Michiganders from COVID-19 and lowering the chance of a second wave. I will continue to work closely with our partners in state government and everyone else who wants to help us reach our goal of performing 450,000 COVID-19 tests in May.”
Drive-through and walk-up COVID-19 testing will be offered at the Muskegon Heights Farmers Market at 2600 Baker Street, Muskegon Heights beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 23, and 9 a.m. Sunday, May 24. Testing will close at 5 p.m. on both days. Local volunteers will be providing traffic control and the tests will be administered by members of the MING free to residents of Muskegon County.
“My concern is that COVID-19 has had a disproportionate and devastating impact on Muskegon Heights,” said Troy Bell, city manager of the City of Muskegon Heights. “You can’t fight what you can’t see. Getting testing is critical to our recovery and I am encouraging all our citizens to come out this weekend to take advantage of this opportunity.”
Bell’s concerns were echoed by Muskegon Heights Mayor Walter Watt. “Everybody is looking forward to things getting back to normal,” said Watt. “The only way to do that is through COVID-19 testing. It is vitally important that we test as many of our citizens as we can to ensure their health is as it should be.”
The MVAA serves as the central coordinating agency to connect Michigan’s veterans to the benefits and resources they have earned through their service. The MING has been actively engaged in the state’s response to the pandemic through widespread testing and screening, distribution of personal protective equipment, and assistance at numerous food banks across the state. The Muskegon County testing initiative is a continuation of those efforts.
“Muskegon County has been hit especially hard by the COVID-19,” said Zaneta Adams, director of the MVAA. “This cooperative effort will have a have positive impact on the community. I thank everyone who worked so hard to put this together.”
“As we reopen the state’s economy, testing remains critical to our efforts to contain the spread of the virus,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, MDHHS chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “Testing helps us understand where this disease is so we can identify people at highest risk and make sure we are quickly implementing best practices for preventing further cases and deaths.”
For more information on the Muskegon County testing initiative, call the MVAA’s Michigan Veteran Resource Service Center 24-hours a day at 1-800-MICHVET.
# # #