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The original item was published from 5/11/2020 12:01:54 PM to 5/11/2020 6:58:20 PM.

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Posted on: May 11, 2020

[ARCHIVED] City of Sterling Heights ramps up COVID-19 antigen testing for essential employees

The city of Sterling Heights is partnering with Wayne State Physician’s Group and Access Community Health and Research Center on May 13 at the City’s Community Center to provide COVID-19 antigen testing for essential employees.

The antigen test will determine if, at any time, they have been infected by the COVID-19 virus. A positive test indicates a person was infected with the virus, whether or not they experienced any symptoms, and now their body has developed antibodies for the virus.

During the pandemic, employees from City departments including the Police and Fire departments, Department of Public Works, Parks & Recreation and Facilities Maintenance, have continued to provide essential services. Antigen testing for these essential employees will help identify how many may have contracted the virus, even if unaware. This is important because those who test positive for the COVID-19 antigen may have developed some immunity to the virus, allowing them to safely continue providing essential services as well as potentially donate blood or plasma should it be needed for future outbreaks.

“Many groups now being tested for the antigen are finding high percentages of individuals who had contracted the virus but did not become symptomatic,” said Sterling Heights Fire Chief Chris Martin. “This antigen testing can help us identify employees within our ranks who may have developed some immunity to the disease and assess employees who are still at higher risk for contracting the virus. Thus far, only 19 Police and Fire employees have required standard COVID-19 diagnostic tests due to developing symptoms. Fortunately, only three tested positive, and all have fully recovered and are back to work.”

In addition to testing for essential employees, the City is ramping up efforts to test every employee at its on-site Care Here medical facility through LabCorp. Currently LabCorp can perform 50,000 tests per day and complete them within one to three days from the time of pickup. The company is preparing to make tests more broadly available over the coming weeks, and by mid-May, expect to be able to perform several hundred thousand tests per week as more tests and testing platforms receive U.S. Food and Drug Administration Emergency Use Authorization.

“Testing and tracing are the lynch pins for allowing our community to re-open our economy safely,” said Sterling Heights Mayor Michael Taylor. “We are immensely grateful to our partners at Wayne State, Access Community Health and Care Here for their unwavering efforts to help us get the testing required to safely open per CDC protocols.”

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