CLEVELAND — In an effort to provide COVID-19 care to those minorities affected disproportionately in Northeast Ohio, University Hospitals (UH) is now offering the state's first fully mobile and self-contained testing center.
Black and Hispanic communities have seen more cases and more deaths due to coronavirus, but also have less access to testing. UH's mobile unit will be visiting those underserved areas across the region.
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“University Hospitals has a long history of addressing health care disparities for underserved populations,” said Margaret Larkins-Pettigrew, MD, UH Edgar B. Jackson Chair of Clinical Excellence & Diversity. “We know transportation is a barrier to testing in these neighborhoods, so we’ve committed to bringing these valuable resources where they’re needed.”
The mobile testing unit is equipped with a plexiglass booth to separate the caregiver from the patient during testing. Three employees staff the unit, implementing regimented cleaning and sanitation protocols between patients. Only one patient will be present inside the unit at a time.
The mobile unit conducts a limited number of tests at each location. The tests will be processed at UH’s core lab with a goal of having test results in less than 48 hours. If a patient does not have access to phone or internet, UH will hand-deliver positive test results. Patients seeking testing will need to provide either driver’s license, state-issued ID or their name, address and social security number.
Testing will be provided at no residual cost to patients.
UH is currently evaluating communities and determining exact locations for mobile testing. UH will work directly with leaders in each community to inform residents about details of upcoming visits.
“There is a gap in the ability to test for COVID-19 in the most vulnerable areas,” said Brian Rothstein, MD, Clinical Ventures Fellow, UH Ventures, Assistant Professor of Pediatric Neurosurgery UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital. “With this mobile unit, we’re not only closing that gap by delivering our testing services, but spreading important information about the virus and how to combat it.”