Neighborhood COVID-19 testing sites expanded in Cass, Van Buren counties

Published 3:56 pm Thursday, December 16, 2021

LAWRENCE — With the COVID-19 pandemic still hitting southwest Michigan hard, one local health department is expanding testing sites.

The Van Buren/Cass District Health Department will be partnering with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to provide free Rapid Antigen COVID-19 tests at Ascension Borgess Lee Hospital in Dowagiac for Cass County and Bangor High School in Bangor for Van Buren County in a drive-up format. Individuals will remain in their car for testing. Testing is free of charge, and no appointment is necessary.

The expanded testing program is hosted by MDHHS deploying members of the Michigan National Guard and is not affiliated with Ascension Borgess Lee or Bangor High School. Testing clinics begin on Dec. 20 in Cass County and Jan. 4, 2022, in Van Buren County and will continue until notified otherwise.

Testing site details are as follows:

Cass County (Beginning Dec. 20)

Ascension Borgess-Lee Hospital, 420 W. High St., Dowagiac

  • 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Mondays
  • 1 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays

 

Van Buren County (Beginning Jan. 4, 2022)

Bangor High School Football Stadium Team Room, 801 W. Arlington St., Bangor

  • 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays
  • 3 to 7 p.m. Thursdays

 

The following people should get tested for COVID-19, according to the health department:

  • People who have symptoms of COVID-19
  • People who have had a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19
  • People who have come into close contact with someone with COVID-19 should be tested to check for infection. Fully vaccinated people should be tested five to seven days after their last exposure. People who are not fully vaccinated should get tested immediately when they find out they are a close contact. If their test result is negative, they should get tested again five to seven days after their last exposure or immediately when symptoms develop.

 

A positive COVID-19 test early in the course of the illness enables individuals to isolate themselves – reducing the chances that they will infect others and allowing them to seek treatment earlier, likely reducing disease severity and the risk of long-term disability or death, health officials said.

“Testing of people who have been in contact with others who have a documented infection is also necessary,” said Danielle Persky, health officer. “A negative test doesn’t mean you’re in the clear; you could become infectious later. Therefore, even if you test negative, you need to protect yourself and others by washing your hands frequently, physically distancing yourself, and wearing a face mask. A positive test clarifies that you have to isolate yourself and that others with whom you have been in contact since your exposure should also get tested.”

Since it is recognized that nearly half of all SARS-CoV-2 infections are transmitted by people who are not showing any symptoms, identifying infected individuals while they are pre-symptomatic, as well as those who are asymptomatic, will play a major role in stopping the pandemic, health officials said.

For more information on COVID-19, vaccination and testing, visit vbcassdhd.org/covid-19.