Michigan National Guard performing coronavirus tests in the fall at Bay City

Airmen from the Michigan National Guard’s Task Force 182, were in Bay City performing free COVID-19 drive-thru tests at Delta College on October 3, 2020. It is important with the onset of cold and flu season to take any symptoms seriously. Because of this, the Bay County Health Department has more testing events planned in the on coming weeks, the next one is October 13, 2020. (Photo by Michigan National Guard Staff Sgt. Tegan Kucera)

Story by Staff Sgt. Tegan Kucera

Michigan National Guard

BAY CITY, Mich. – The autumn season is here, and with the falling leaves comes cold and flu season and an increased likelihood of illness.

The Michigan National Guard has continued to accommodate communities by assisting to offer residents free drive-thru COVID-19 testing, most recently in Bay City on October 3, 2020 at Delta College.

“We are here today with a community pop-up testing event and this is done in conjunction with Delta College and the Michigan National Guard,” said Joel Strasz the health officer for the Bay County Health Department. “It’s an opportunity for local residents, whether they’re from Bay County or any county around, to come get a free and easy-to-obtain drive-thru test.”

Tests were performed by Airmen from the Michigan National Guard’s Task Force 182 and specialists from the health department.

“The good thing about the Guard is that they are well trained for this and on short notice, it’s a good partnership – I’m glad they could make it today,” said Strasz.

The Airmen spent their summer going across the state testing residents in small and large communities.

“People with cold symptoms are going to want to get tested, because with COVID-19, what you think is a cold might not be just a cold,” said Tech. Sgt. Chase Wood.

As non-commissioned officer in charge of a COVID-19 testing team, Wood has overseen the administration of part of more than four million tests people across Michigan have performed up to now.

“The need is definitely there and I see in the coming weeks that this will be an instrumental part of assessing risk to keep the numbers down in Bay County,” said Strasz. “Cold and flu season are upon us, the symptoms for the cold and flu are the same.”

This is the first time the Michigan National Guard was in Bay City for a community testing event, but it will not be the last, there is another scheduled for the morning of October 13, 2020 at Delta College. Strasz said they are planning for even more events after that.

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