Berrien Health Department Preparing For Local COVID-19 Testing


The Berrien County Health Department is in contact with nearly 250 local organizations as it responds to the COVID-19 outbreak. At a briefing in Benton Harbor on Tuesday, county health officer Nicki Britten said there will be even more work to do when Berrien County sees its first confirmed cases of COVID-19.

“We are busy preparing for those first confirmed cases and the amount of contact tracing, quarantine, and associated investigation that will happen at that time,” Britten said.

Berrien County Medical Examiner Rick Johansen said the ability to test for coronavirus will soon be achieved by Spectrum Health Lakeland and Intercare.

“It’s been a sore spot,” Johansen said. “For us, it really hasn’t been here yet so it hasn’t been such a big issue for us. It’s certainly coming, and the testing is moving along forward now.”

Johansen noted the specimen collections being done by Lakeland are doctor-ordered only, meaning you can’t just show up and ask for a test because you want one. A doctor has to recommend it. He also worked to calm everyone, saying the fatality rates we’ve been hearing for COVID-19 are going down as more cases are identified.