Detroit expects to be one of the first cities in the nation to deploy “instant testing” for COVID-19.
Mayor Mike Duggan announced Monday that he has signed a deal with Abbott Laboratories to provide testing machines. The company gained emergency approval from the federal government for its new testing system, which promises results in under fifteen minutes and is able to identify the virus before an individual exhibits symptoms.
The instant tests will be used for essential employees like first responders, bus drivers, and healthcare workers. “I want to be in a situation that if a police officer comes and says ‘I just arrested somebody. Took them to the Detroit Detention Center and I think he’s positive for COVID-19.’ I’d like to be able to get that officer tested,” says Duggan.
There are dozens of bus drivers and hundreds of first responders from Detroit’s police and fire departments in quarantine from potential exposure to COVID-19. To date, nearly 80 Detroit police and fire department personnel have tested positive for COVID-19, including Chief James Craig, who tested positive for COVID-19 last week.
The city will receive five testing machines and 5,000 testing kits from Abbot Laboratories. Duggan says the city’s health department will be able to run 250 tests a day for first responders and bus drivers and expects testing to begin within a week.
Abbott Laboratories expects to produce about five million tests per month across the country and is providing COVID-19 kits to hospitals in southeastern Michigan to test healthcare workers.