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NEWS | June 29, 2020

Michigan Guard staffs COVID-19 drive-thru testing site

By Master Sgt. David Eichaker Michigan National Guard

ALPENA, Mich. – The National Guard has teamed up with District Health Department 4 to conduct free COVID-19 testing in Michigan.

“There’s been a need in Alpena County for a testing site like this,” said Matthew Radocy, emergency preparedness coordinator for District Health Department 4 serving Alpena, Cheboygan, Montmorency, and Presque Isle counties. “We have had people asking for it, it’s good public health, and it allows us to serve the community to let people know to answer their questions if they have it or not.”

Residents can get tested at the drive-thru site without a doctor’s permission.

“We have two testing sites in Alpena, but they require a doctor’s order,” said Radocy. “There are residents who don’t meet the criteria to get tested, so when the opportunity came up to offer free testing to the community, we took advantage of it.”

The free testing can be enticing to people in the area.

“The residents are probably more open to the drive-thru testing because they don’t have to pay for it,” said U.S. Army Spc. Bethany Gurnee, Michigan Army National Guard, and a Utica resident. “It’s a simple process right in their community, so they don’t have to go to a medical facility and can have it done right here.”

“They don’t want to go back to their families and potentially get family members sick, so being able to do this lets them know if they have it,” said Gurnee.

Public health and the Guard share a desire to support local communities.

“One of the reasons I joined the Guard is because I wanted to work and help people within the communities and doing this allows me to do that,” said Gurnee. “It feels amazing being able to help people.”

Radocy agreed.

“One of the things I love about public health is being able to serve the community I live and work in,” said Radocy. “It’s nice to work with Michiganders and help the people of our state, and I especially enjoy working with the Michigan Guard.”