GRAND RAPIDS, MI — Kent County is seeing a “sharp decline” in the number of people seeking COVID-19 tests.
Kent County Health Department officials say their testing sites are now processing about 300 tests per week — down from about 800 tests per week at the peak of testing in July. The health department notes that other community partner testing sites are seeing similar slowdowns.
Thanks to the lull in testing, wait times to get tested are now short to nonexistent, and test results are now being turned around in one to two days. At the peak in July, the test result turnaround window ranged from seven to 10 days.
People are still contracting COVID-19 in Kent County. On Sept. 21, the health department reported 108 new cases for a total 8,690 since the pandemic began.
Statewide, Kent County has the fourth highest number of cases behind Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.
Kent County Health Department officials say they want people to know that testing is critical to stop the spread of COVID-19.
“We want people to know that testing is free, quick, easy and available,” Christopher Bendekgey, director of the Kent County Health Department’s Community Clinical Services Division, said in a statement.
“People are still contracting the virus, but we suspect they’ve heard it’s hard to get an appointment or others have waited over a week for results, and they’re thinking, ‘why bother?’ But it’s vital that we continue to track and work to stop the spread of this disease in our community.”
COVID-19 test sites with immediate availability are located at:
- The Kent County Health Department Fuller Clinic at 700 Fuller Ave. NE in Grand Rapids
- The Kent County Health Department South Clinic at 4700 Kalamazoo Ave. in Kentwood
- The Kent County Health Department Baxter test site at 935 Baxter St. SE in Grand Rapids
- The NxGen MDx test site located at LINC UP, 1167 Madison Ave. SE in Grand Rapids.
Current testing sites may change in the future.
The health department follows Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines in recommending that people get tested if they have one of the following symptoms: cough, shortness of breath or new loss of taste of smell.
Additionally, someone should be tested if they have any two of the following symptoms: fever, chills, body aches, headache, sore throat, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue or congestion or runny nose.
People should also seek testing if they were in close contact with someone with COVID-19, suspect they’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19 or are in a high COVID-19 transmission area and have attended a public or private gathering of more than 10 people where attendees weren’t wearing masks or being socially distant.