Cleveland, OH,
11:34 AM

MetroHealth Partners with Cuyahoga County For New COVID Point-of-Care Rapid Testing

The county and the Board of Health launch a new testing pilot for essential workers

The Cuyahoga County Executive, Cuyahoga County Council, The MetroHealth System and the Cuyahoga County Board of Health announced today plans to pilot a COVID-19 point-of-care rapid testing program for essential public service workers.

The pilot program will begin in December and will serve essential workers such as paramedics, firefighters, police officers and jail guards – people who work in close-quarters situations and often come in contact with the public. This pilot program will also inform future testing efforts.

The Cuyahoga County Executive and County Council provided nearly $2.4 million from CARES Act funds, which will be used to obtain testing equipment and supplies and to deploy clinical teams to provide the testing service. The tests will be administered by MetroHealth caregivers, who will travel to various workplaces.

“This rapid testing will allow us to test paramedics, police officers and others before they go into work and have the results in about 15 minutes,” said MetroHealth CEO and President Akram Boutros, MD, FACHE. “This will help limit the spread of COVID-19 in the community, and is another example of MetroHealth working collaboratively to protect our neighbors.”

“Rapid testing is essential to us as we manage this phase of the COVID crisis,” Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish said. “We are pleased to support this rapid testing program. Every dollar spent on testing gets us closer to ending this national nightmare.”

Rapid testing can be used strategically to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in high-risk environments, said Terry Allan, Cuyahoga County Health Commissioner. “We look forward to learning from this pilot in coordination with our essential public safety partners.”

Rapid testing does not replace other mitigation measures such as masking, staying home if you are feeling unwell or physical distancing. However, in environments where essential workers must be in close quarters to perform their jobs, rapid testing may provide an added layer of protection.

An existing partnership between MetroHealth, the Cuyahoga County Board of Health and Cuyahoga County has resulted in more than 14,000 people receiving free COVID tests. Much of this testing was done in partnership with religious organizations in under-resourced areas. That free testing is scheduled to continue throughout this year.

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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