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Eastern UP health department adds drop boxes to meet testing demand

Courtesy of Kerry Ott

An eastern UP health department is trying a new approach to make it quicker and cheaper to get tested for infectious diseases in a region where many people are hesitant to go to the doctor. They have set up a drop-box system for COVID-19, influenza, and RSV tests.

The free, self-administered PCR tests are available to all residents of Luce, Mackinac, Schoolcraft and Alger Counties.

The tests can be picked up at any of the four public health buildings and then placed in a drop box, similar to the book drop box your local library might use.

"It's a locked box, no one can access it once you drop it in there. And it's stored on ice in the bottom half of the box, picked up every day. And by our couriers and take them back to our lab in Newberry Monday to Thursday," said Kerry Ott, public information officer with LMAS District Health.

Ott said residents can take enough tests for the entire family and can choose to have everyone tested for COVID-19, influenza or RSV individually or for all three.

"You can take a kit, go out to your car, fill out the paperwork, do the swab there, and just take it back end up in the box, and you never see anybody." said Ott.

Results are typically made available within 24 hours.

Rick joined WCMU as a general assignment reporter in March 2022.