FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 5, 2020
CONTACT: Lynn Sutfin, 517-241-2112
LANSING, Mich. – As cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) increase in the United States and internationally, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Bureau of Laboratories has increased its testing supplies to test more than 300 Michiganders for the virus, more than doubling its previous testing capacity.
The MDHHS lab received additional test kits from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today. The kits are currently undergoing a validation process but should be ready for use by the end of the week.
“We want Michiganders to know that their state laboratory is ready and able to provide testing for COVID-19,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS. “We are currently able to provide same day turnaround for test results.”
The new test kits arrived following news from the CDC that testing criteria had expanded to include any persons, including healthcare workers, who have had close contact with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patient within 14 days of symptom onset, or a history of travel to one of the affected geographic areas within 14 days of symptom onset. Affected areas include China, Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea.
The new testing criteria will allow Michigan and other states to confirm COVID-19 cases much quicker and slow the spread of this disease in the United States, Khaldun said.
In addition, the MDHHS state lab is in the process of surveying hospital labs across the state to determine which labs wish to begin providing testing. A Laboratory Leadership Service Fellow has been requested from CDC to help Michigan hospitals with the validation process.
To date, there are no confirmed COVID-19 cases in Michigan. As of March 4, eight people have been tested for COVOD-19 in the state; five by CDC and three by MDHHS.
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