Cleveland, OH,
17:36 PM

MetroHealth Brings Testing to Cuyahoga County's Most Vulnerable

On Thursday, July 16, MetroHealth performed COVID-19 testing at Olivet Institutional Baptist Church on Quincy Avenue in Cleveland. The testing is part of an initiative with Greater Cleveland Congregations and the Cuyahoga County Board of Health.

CLEVELAND – An administrator of a local group home called MetroHealth’s COVID-19 hotline in April. She was concerned about the well-being of those in her care, as well as her own coronavirus symptoms.

Then a similar call came in. And another.

Knowing that social distancing in close quarters is difficult, particularly for those with developmental disabilities, MetroHealth quickly assembled a mobile unit – staffed by nurses from the Emergency Department – to test residents and staff at these types of facilities.

“Pretty quickly, we realized there was a need for this,” said Dr. David Margolius, one of the physicians who helped launch the mobile unit.

Caring for the community’s most vulnerable has always been at the heart of MetroHealth’s mission. Over the last several months, with support from Cuyahoga County and the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, teams of MetroHealth physicians and nurses tested and cared for people living in homeless shelters, on the streets, in camps, nursing homes and group homes.

Several months into this pandemic, research continues to mount highlighting the disproportionate impact COVID-19 has had on the poor and communities of color. In Ohio alone, nearly 27% of COVID-19 cases are among African Americans – though only 13% of the state’s population is Black.

Because of these concerning disparities, MetroHealth doubled down on its efforts to test these hard-to-reach and underserved populations throughout the community.

Just recently, MetroHealth and the Board of Health partnered with Greater Cleveland Congregations – a group of faith communities and other organizations committed to social justice – to test thousands of individuals at drive-through and walk-up sites at churches throughout Cuyahoga County, with an emphasis on African-American populations and other at-risk groups.

“There’s something to be said about doing this in lockstep with our partners at the Cuyahoga County Board of Health who understand these disparities and the testing needs in our community,” said Dr. Brook Watts, MetroHealth’s vice president and chief quality officer. “It’s also a testament to our staff who have demonstrated an incredible amount of sensitivity and compassion for those who might be nervous about being tested.”

If you are experiencing symptoms – fever, shortness of breath, cough – call the MetroHealth COVID-19 hotline at 440-59-COVID (440-592-6843).

About The MetroHealth System

The MetroHealth System, Cuyahoga County’s public health system, is honoring its commitment to create a healthier community by building a new hospital on its main campus in Cleveland. The building and the 25 acres of green space around it are catalyzing the revitalization of MetroHealth’s West Side neighborhood.

MetroHealth broke ground on its new hospital in 2019. The project is being financed with nearly $1 billion the system borrowed on its own credit after dramatically improving its finances. In the past five years, MetroHealth’s operating revenue has increased by 40% and its number of employees by 21%. Today, its staff of 8,000 provides care at MetroHealth’s four hospitals, four emergency departments and more than 20 health centers and 40 additional sites throughout Cuyahoga County. In the past year, MetroHealth has served 300,000 patients at more than 1.4 million visits in its hospitals and health centers, 75% of whom are uninsured or covered by Medicare or Medicaid.

The health system is home to Cuyahoga County’s most experienced Level I Adult Trauma Center, verified since 1992, and Ohio’s only adult and pediatric trauma and burn center.

As an academic medical center, MetroHealth is committed to teaching and research. Each active staff physician holds a faculty appointment at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Its main campus hospital houses a Cleveland Metropolitan School District high school of science and health.

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