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MDHHS answers questions about COVID-19 booster, testing availability in Upper Michigan

(WLUC)
Published: Jan. 4, 2022 at 7:59 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WLUC) - In response to concerns about the availability of COVID-19 booster doses and testing supply in Upper Michigan, the MDHHS sent TV6 the following statement in an email Tuesday:

We continue to promote opportunities for providers to enroll to provide COVID-19 vaccine (https://www.michigan.gov/mdhhs/0,5885,7-339-73971_4911_4914-545768--,00.html) and we also contract with mobile vendors who can conduct vaccination events at the request of our local health departments.

There are 142 vaccine providers in the Upper Peninsula, however, it is possible the region lacks some of the higher throughput retail pharmacies available in the lower peninsula that are the primary administrators of boosters currently. According to vaccine data, the proportion of persons boosted (among the fully vaccinated) in the U.P. does not differ substantially from that in other Michigan geographies.  In fact, most of the UP counties (9 of 15) have booster coverage rates higher than the state average.

On testing, there is adequate testing available in the state, but we are aware there is an increased demand recently due to the surge in cases, identification of the Omicron variant in the state and Michiganders getting tested before the holidays. There are community popup testing sites listed here - Coronavirus - Community Based Pop-Up Rapid Antigen Testing Events (michigan.gov), which includes testing at welcome centers and airports in addition to 22 neighborhood testing sites across the state. We also have a link that helps Michiganders find testing sites near them - Search Results (solvhealth.com).

With the Biden administration announcement that half a billion OTC tests will be purchased for people who want them, we anticipate that Michiganders will have additional access to tests, however we don’t have the details yet.

Additional data on testing:

  • Nearly 4.6 million rapid antigen tests have been distributed to partners in the calendar year 2021.
  • More than 2.6 million of those tests went to schools and for school-based and sports-based testing
  • Nearly 554,000 went to the Department of Corrections
  • More than 912,000 to long-term care facilities
  • In 2021, there have been 5,731 testing events at points of entry, community or neighborhood sites where 323,082 tests have been conducted.
  • MDHHS started the MI Backpack Over the Counter Test Project, a program to distribute rapid at-home tests to families of students. To date, 118 schools have expressed interest and nearly 120,000 at-home tests have been distributed to schools.

We have testing data on the dashboard Coronavirus - Michigan Data under the Total testing Tab to provide more info on the number of tests conducted lately.

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