Free, at-home coronavirus tests are coming to more libraries in Michigan, the state said hours before President Joe Biden urged Congress to approve billions in emergency COVID-19 relief aid for efforts, such as testing, so the US can continue to fight the virus.
The free tests will be at 70 libraries across Michigan, helping underserved areas, in an expansion of a program that piloted in January with 18 libraries in five counties and the cities of Detroit and Taylor in Wayne County.
Now, the tests will be available in 38 counties in Michigan, including several libraries in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties as well as the city of Detroit. Families spending more time with extended relatives and friends and those returning from spring break trips can use the tests.
“This partnership is just one more tool to keep our communities safe,” Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, the state’s chief medical executive, said in a news release Wednesday.
“Testing has become extremely convenient with many locations and the increased availability of over-the-counter tests. We recommend Michiganders test if traveling. Additionally, receiving the COVID-19 vaccine remains one of the most effective ways to prevent severe illness and disease. “
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The announcement came before Biden discussed a new one-stop shop website COVID.gov to help Americans access information about vaccines, tests, treatment, masks and local COVID-19 community levels.
The website also has a tool where people can find locations where they can test for the virus and, if positive, receive oral, antiviral treatments if needed and appropriate. There are more than 2,000 test-to-treat sites, including many in Michigan, at pharmacies and community health centers.
‘This is not partisan; it’s medicine ‘
Biden also urged Congress to approve $ 22.5 billion in emergency COVID-19 relief aid, saying if it does not approve more funding to buy monoclonal antibodies for treatment, they’ll start running out by the end of May. Supplies of preventative therapies for those who are immunocompromised could run out by the fall, he said, and they will not have testing capacity beyond June without additional funding.
Biden said if Congress fails to act, they will not have the supply of vaccines and boosters needed this fall to ensure the shots are free and easily accessible to Americans.
He said there have already been consequences of congressional inaction, such as canceling planned orders of monoclonal antibodies and cutting the supply sent to states.
“This is not partisan, it’s medicine,” Biden said, later adding: “Americans are back to living their lives again. We can not surrender that now.”
Biden then received his second booster, a day after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved a second COVID-19 booster for some Americans, including those age 50 and older.
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Where to get free tests
More than 24,000 COVID-19 test kits have shipped to the 70 libraries, according to the Michigan health department.
Kits are limited at each library location and are available on a first-come, first-served basis during the library’s business hours. Residents are asked to take one kit per person or up to five per household.
The number of tests in each kit varies from one to two, Lynn Sutfin, spokesperson for the state health department, told the Free Press.
Here are the libraries, by county, where free coronavirus tests will be available:
- Allegan: Allegan District Library, 331 Hubbard St., Allegan, and Fennville District Library, 400 W. Main St., Fennville
- Antrim: Mancelona Township Library, 202 W. State St., Mancelona
- Berrien: Buchanan District Library, 128 E, Front St., Buchanan, and Watervliet District Library, 333 N. Main St., Watervliet
- Calhoun: Albion District Library, 501 S. Superior St., Albion, and Homer Public Library, 141 W. Main St., Homer
- Cass: Cass District Library, 319 M-62, Cassopolis
- Clare: Pere Marquette District Library, 185 E. Fourth St., Clare; Surrey Township Public Library, 105 East Michigan St., Farwell, and Harrison District Library, 105 E. Main St., Harrison
- Participate: Gladstone School & Public Library, 300 S. 10th St., Gladstone
- Eaton: Delta Township District Library, 5130 Davenport Drive, Lansing
- Emmet: Petoskey District Library, 500 E. Mitchell St., Petoskey
- Gladwin: Gladwin County District Library, 402 James Robertson Drive, Gladwin
- Free: Howe Memorial Library, 128 E. Saginaw St., Breckenridge
- Hillsdale: Waldron District Library, 107 N. Main, Waldron
- Huron: Bad Ax District Library, 200 S. Hanselman St., Bad Ax, and Sleeper Public Library, 2236 E. Main St., Ubly
- Ingham: East Lansing Public Library, 950 Abbot Road, East Lansing
- Ionia: Lake Odessa Community Library, 1007 4th Ave., Lake Odessa
- Iron: Crystal Falls District Community Library, 237 Superior Ave., Crystal Falls
- Kalamazoo: Kalamazoo Public Library, 315 S. Rose St., Kalamazoo, and Portage District Library, 300 Library Lane, Portage
- Kent: Kent District Library, Gaines Township Branch, 421 68th St. SE, Grand Rapids
- Lake: Luther Area Public Library, 115 State St., Luther
- Lenawee: Adrian District Library, 143 E. Maumee St., Adrian, and The Schultz-Holmes Memorial Library, 407 South Lane St., Blissfield
- Mackinac: St. Ignace Public Library, 110 W. Spruce St., St. Ignace
- Macomb: Roseville Public Library, 29777 Gratiot Ave., Roseville
- Mecosta: Barryton Public Library, 198 Northern Ave., Barryton; Big Rapids Community Library, 426 S. Michigan Ave., Big Rapids, and Walton Erickson Public Library, 4808 Northland Drive, Morley
- Midland: Coleman Area Library, 111 First St., Coleman
- Montcalm: Flat River Community Library, 200 West Judd St., Greenville
- Newaygo: Hesperia Community Library, 80 South Division St., Hesperia; White Cloud Community Library, 1038 Wilcox Ave., White Cloud, and Grant Area District Library, 122 S. Elder Ave., Grant
- Oakland: Hazel Park Memorial District Library, 123 East 9 Mile Rd., Hazel Park; Holly Township Library, 1116 Saginaw St., Holly
- Ocean: Hart Area Public Library, 415 S. State St., Hart, and Pentwater Township Library, 402 E. Park St., Pentwater
- Ogemaw: Ogemaw District Library, 107 W. Main St., Rose City
- Osceola: Evart Public Library, 200 S. Main St., Evart, and Reed City Area District Library, 829 S.outh Chestnut St., Reed City
- Oscoda: Oscoda County Library, 430 W. 8th St., Mio
- Otsego: Otsego County Library, 700 S. Otsego Ave., Gaylord
- Ottawa: Coopersville Area District Library, 333 Ottawa St., Coopersville, and Herrick District Library, 300 S. River Ave., Holland
- Page: Hoyt Public Library, 505 Janes Ave., Saginaw; Public Libraries of Saginaw – Butman-Fish Branch, 1716 Hancock, and Wickes Branch, 1713 Hess Ave., both in Saginaw, and Thomas E. Fleschner Memorial Library, 11935 Silver Creek Drive, Birch Run
- Sanilac: Deckerville Public Library, 3542 N. Main St., Deckerville
- St. Joseph: Nottawa Township Library, 685 E. Main St., Centerville, and White Pigeon Township Library, 102 N. Kalamazoo St., White Pigeon
- Van Buren: South Haven Memorial Library, 314 Broadway, South Haven
- Wayne (in Detroit): Detroit Public Library Main Branch, 5201 Woodward Ave .; Campbell Branch, 8733 Vernor Highway; Edison Branch, 18400 Joy Road; Jefferson Branch, 12350 E. Outer Drive; Parkman Branch, 1766 Oakman B; Redford Branch, 21200 Grand River; Wilder Branch, 7140 E. 7 Mile Road, and various locations with the Detroit Mobile Library
- Wayne (outside Detroit): Ecorse Public Library, 3869 W. Jefferson, Ecorse; Flat Rock Public Library, 25200 Gibraltar Road, Flat Rock; Melvindale Public Library, 18650 Allen Road, Melvindale; Redford Township District Library, 25320 W. 6 Mile Road, Redford, and Taylor Community Library, 12303 Pardee Road, Taylor
The Detroit Health Department also is providing free COVID-19 tests to anyone who lives or works in Detroit at the Joseph Walker Williams Community Center, 8431 Rosa Parks Blvd., from 7 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday, It’s by appointment only at 313-230-0505.
Sutfin said more than 24,000 test kits from different manufacturers have been sent to library sites in the state program since January.
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Over-the-counter coronavirus tests are more readily available now. Free tests also are available to households through a federal program at covidtests.gov and The Rockefeller Foundation, which is offering free tests to residents in eligible communities.
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The free test kits at Michigan libraries are in addition to the MI Backpack Home Tests, a program in which parents, students and staff in K-12 schools can sign up to take home COVID-19 test kits. The health department said it has provided more than 583,000 kits to schools to distribute to participants.
Residents also can get testing at sites across Michigan. To find a site, go to solvhealth.com. There are also community pop-up testing sites, including at welcome centers, airports and 22 neighborhood sites at Coronavirus – Community Based Pop-up Rapid Antigen Testing Events at michigan.gov.
Contact Christina Hall: [email protected] Follow her on Twitter: @challreporter. Support local journalism. Subscribe to the Free Press.