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Health

Michigan to offer free, convenient COVID rapid testing at travel sites

Cherry Capital Airport sign in front of trees and a blue sky
Traverse City Capital Airport
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The state health department is trying to encourage more people to get tested for COVID-19 by making it convenient.

The state is beginning to offer testing at travel sites. Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City is the first airport to offer free rapid tests.

Airport Director Kevin Klein says it comes just in time for the snow birds who are returning to their homes up north.

“Knowing that as they are going into the community that they’ve had a negative test or do they need to quarantine? They’ll have the peace of mind knowing the direction they should take.”

State public health physician Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian says it’s especially important to catch infections in travelers because they tend to be more lax with precautions.

“If we can couple testing with any of those higher risk activities where you may be around more people, where you’re in an indoor space with them, it could make those activities safer.”

Traverse City’s Cherry Capital Airport and two welcome centers in Petersburg and Monroe currently offer rapid antigen tests with more sites to open this summer.

Dr. Bagdasarian says all positive tests will be sent to the state lab to check for variants.

The rapid tests not as accurate as PCR tests, but state epidemiologists say the rapid tests can help catch asymptomatic cases.

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