Detroiters Denied Coronavirus Testing Because They Can't Get Prescriptions


DETROIT (WWJ) - Detroit is offering free drive-up coronavirus testing by the hundreds. But for some, getting access to those tests is nearly impossible. 

Vehicles have been lining up daily so residents can be tested for symptoms of COVID-19 at Joe Dumars Fieldhouse at the former State Fairgrounds, near the corner of Woodward and State Fair avenues, just south of 8 Mile Road.

However, testing is only available by appointment and residents need a prescription or testing order from a physician. That prescription requirement, according to Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnago, is what's causing the problem.

"Every other city that has demonstrated how to get these numbers down is because they've opened up multiple testing sites. We applaud the state for their effort, but as you know, people have gone there and they've been turned away," Gay-Dagnago told WWJ's Charlie Langton.

Gay-Dagnago said many Detroiters don't have doctors, so they can't get the paperwork for testing.

No one has been counting how many people have been denied testing, but Gay-Dagnago says she has been in contact with city and county authorities to relax the prescription requirement.

"How do our citizens who do not have a doctor -- can dial 311, 511, 611, create some infrastructure where people can get testing so that we can collectively flatten the curve," she said.

Roughly 400 people undergo testing at the site every day. The site will remain open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. until May 8.

Those who wish to be tested at the site first need to consult with a doctor if they believe they have COVID-19, are showing symptoms, or have come into contact with an infected person. Doctors will then schedule an appointment at the testing site, or give patients a written prescription to receive a test and instruct them to make an appointment through the Coronavirus Community Care Network Call Center.

The call center is available at 313-230-0505, 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. daily. Those who are being tested need to bring a valid ID and the written testing order or prescription.