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

Founded in 1837, MetroHealth is leading the way to a healthier you and a healthier community through service, teaching, discovery, and teamwork. Cuyahoga County’s public, safety-net hospital system, MetroHealth meets people where they are, providing care through five hospitals, four emergency departments and more than 20 health centers. Each day, our nearly 9,000 employees focus on providing our community with equitable healthcare — through patient-focused research, access to care, and support services — that seeks to eradicate health disparities rooted in systematic barriers. For more information, visit