MENOMINEE — The COVID-19 testing put on by the Public Health Departments of Delta & Menominee counties has been a rousing success.
COVID testing has become a regular part of life for many, and has now come to Escanaba & Menominee. On Friday, for Escanaba, and Saturday, for Menominee. The Department of Public Health partnered with the Michigan National Guard to provide tests for residents.
The tests were free to residents. Residents didn’t have to show symptoms to be tested, No appointments were needed, only a Michigan, or in Menominee’s case, Wisconsin ID, and a phone number was required before being tested.
After filling out some paperwork and providing consent the test was quite simple. A quick, 10-second stick of a cotton swab to the back of your nose which, while strangely uncomfortable, was over almost before it started.
The wait time for test results is just seven days. If a resident tests positive they will be advised to quarantine themselves for 10 days after the test, said Mike Snyder, health officer for Public Health for Delta & Menominee Counties.
The testing locations were run in tandem by both volunteers for the community and medically trained members of the Michigan National Guard.
When asked about why they were volunteering at the testing site volunteer Barb Brown said “We all need to be aware of the danger that COVID presents, and by getting more people tested we can show people that, hey this thing is still here and it is still a real danger to our community.”
The testing Saturday started early at 9 a.m. and lasted until 4 p.m. The morning was productive for the testing teams. By 11 a.m., they had already tested 150 residents and were hoping to match or improve upon Friday’s total of 500 residents tested.
“We were expecting to test around 300 residents in total at each event, so we were very surprised when 500 residents were tested Friday,” said Snyder. “The National Guard provided the tests, and they brought 1700 tests with them for the two days here (Escanaba and Menominee) and the one day up in Sault Ste. Marie.”
“500 people is a bit more than we were expecting,” said Snyder “Other communities have held similar events and they are averaging around 300 per event, so 500 was a pleasant surprise,”
When asked about the testings impact on public awareness Snyder said that he expected the number of confirmed cases to increase. But said that an increase in confirmed cases would help create more community awareness and protection by having asymptomatic people isolate themselves and prevent them from spreading COVID to anyone else.
Snyder also reminds residents that 40% of individuals who have tested positive for COVID are asymptomatic and that by wearing masks, whether individuals have symptoms or not, is the most responsible thing that residents can do. That if you are an asymptomatic carrier and don’t know it, then wearing a mask and washing your hands will help to keep you from infecting those in close contact with you.