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National Guard experiences testing delays for COVID-19 test results

Nursing home COVID-19 testing photo
Spc. Miguel Pena
/
media.defense.gov

The Michigan National Guard has collected more than 72-thousand COVID-19 test samples at nursing homes, jails, and drive-through sites. 

But some local health departments say they have waited more than a week for results.

Through a contract set up by the state health department, many of the tests are processed by a lab in New Jersey.

Kevin Hughes is the health officer for District Health Department 10. 

It covers 10 counties in northwest Michigan. He says in one case, a county jail did not receive timely results. 

"You know, it impacts the credibility of the health department until you kind of go through and explain the situation." 

The National Guard referred us to the state health department for comment. The health department says it's worked closely with the lab in New Jersey to correct the delays. 

Since May, the Michigan National Guard has performed COVID-19 testing at dozens of drive-through sites, nursing homes, and jails. But some facilities and local health departments have waited weeks for their results. 

Many of those tests were processed by a commercial lab in New Jersey. It's called BioReference Laboratories. The contract was set up by the state health department.

The National Guard referred us to the state health department for comment. The health department says it's worked closely with the New Jersey lab to fix the delays.

Some frustrated local health departments have recently partnered with Michigan-based labs. They say turnaround times for test results have improved to fewer than three days. 

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