Detroit Residents Offered Free Coronavirus Testing at Tuesday Event

A nurse holds a swab at a drive-up coronavirus testing station at Harborview Medical Center, Thursday, April 2, 2020, in Seattle. The facility saw a steady stream of employees and patients with symptoms Thursday as testing, which has been going on for several weeks, continued as part of efforts to …
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Residents have an opportunity to get free coronavirus testing Tuesday in Detroit, Michigan, as part of the effort to stop the disease from spreading.

“The Detroit Association of Black Organizations (DABO) is teaming up with Sinai Grace Hospital and Wayne State University to screen any citizen of the city, regardless of if their job is considered essential, whether they have symptoms or a prescription,” according to Fox 2.

The event will start at 10 a.m. and end at 2 p.m. inside the Sheffield Center Complex at 12048 Grand River.

Residents are not required to make an appointment or show proof of insurance, but they must have a valid I.D.

Leaders want to make it as convenient as possible for the community to get tested, said DABO Executive Director Rev. Horace Sheffield III.

“People who get tested will find out whether they have COVID-19 and if they have antibodies in their system to fight the coronavirus,” he explained.

As of Tuesday, the Detroit Health Department recorded 8,686 cases of the virus and 947 deaths.

Despite the need for testing, Envisiontec owner Al Siblani said Michigan refused to take some of the half a million test swabs his company in Dearborn produced daily with 3-D printers.

“There’s plenty of business but it just hurts us that we’re a Michigan-based company in the backyard, but we cannot hear from the governor,” he commented.

However, several states had already reached out to him and he was working on shipping test swabs to them and hospitals in Detroit.

Thursday, Siblani spoke with White House officials about his product.

“I talked with the general who’s in charge of logistics for the Defense Department through the white house executive taskforce [sic]. They love what we’re doing and they want us to make more, so we can protect the citizens and get them tested,” he noted.

In a statement, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services explained that because 3-D printed swabs were a new technology, the agency wanted to ensure the product met all safety and accuracy standards before it offered them to residents.

In a message to the state, Siblani said the only thing that mattered was whether or not the swabs worked. He then urged officials to get them verified so people could receive the tests.

“You’ve had them before everybody else, be as effective as everybody else and get them approved, just like Harvard approved them, just like every other hospital in the nation is using them,” he concluded.

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