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 Medical professionals draw blood to test for COVID-19 antibodies June 15 at a drive-thru testing event.

Medical professionals draw blood to test for COVID-19 antibodies June 15 at a drive-thru testing event.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Church, health groups host free drive-thru COVID-19, antibody testing in Southfield

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published June 23, 2020

 Once in the parking lot, cars were marked to indicate which test they were there for. Patients could either get a COVID-19 nasal swab or an antibody test.

Once in the parking lot, cars were marked to indicate which test they were there for. Patients could either get a COVID-19 nasal swab or an antibody test.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

SOUTHFIELD — Cars lined J.L. Hudson Drive June 15 as drivers waited to get tested for COVID-19 from the comfort of their vehicle.

Contessa Rudolph, of Detroit, said she decided to get an antibody test because she suspects she had the virus.

“I was extremely ill earlier in the year, before we were even recognizing the virus,” Rudolph said. “I just wanted to see if that was it, because I was sick for about seven weeks. I encourage everyone to get tested, just to see if they have it or they’ve been exposed to it.”

Adults and children 6 years of age or older were invited to the drive-thru event 11 a.m.-7 p.m., which was hosted by Detroit-based Triumph Church’s Southfield location, 15600 J.L. Hudson Drive.

The event was also in partnership with health care provider Central City Integrated Health and Authority Health, an organization created by Wayne County to improve health among its population.

Drivers were given either an “A” written on their windshield in crayon, to signify they were there for an antibody test, or an “S” to indicate they were there for a COVID-19 nasal swab.

Those receiving a nasal swab did not leave their vehicles. Those who received an antibody test left their vehicles for a white tent, where they met with a phlebotomist to have their blood drawn.

Anthony Adams, the director of community engagement with Triumph Church, said the church had other testing sites available in Detroit in May before extending the event to Southfield.

“We’ve been working with the organizations really for the last month to extend the region of testing available to the community,” Adams said. “There was a feeling they were not really reaching the types of numbers they needed to reach in order to really understand the impact of COVID in the community, and we’ve agreed to host and work with them and really expand the testing.”

Adams said the event also addresses a lack of testing available for people within minority communities.

“It’s really been a big issue, particularly in the minority community. There was a feeling by most that there simply just weren’t enough testing sites available, especially to people of color in southeast Michigan,” Adams said. “So by partnering with these organizations, we have really been able to expand the reach and get a lot more people testing who otherwise may not have been able to.”

Interim President and CEO of Central City Integrated Health Kimberly Farrow said 5% of patients who come through the COVID-19 testing line at the events have tested positive for the virus.

“Today, our goal was to test 1,500 people,” Farrow said around noon on the day of the event. “We were quite ambitious. We set our sights on testing 1,500 people. Right now, we are close to 1,000 people who have signed up, and that’s excluding all the walk-in appointments and same-day testing appointments we provide.”

Ernie Yoder, the director of medical education at Authority Health, said the majority of people at the event are getting antibody testing. He said the region is playing catchup to those who would have required a test when they were symptomatic.

“With the COVID-19 pandemic, obviously, from the beginning we’ve experienced issues with getting people tested and assessed,” Yoder said.

Patients were told they would receive their test results in around 72 hours, officials said, along with proper steps to take if necessary, such as a 14-day quarantine.