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.
The MetroHealth System is redefining health care by going beyond medical treatment to improve the foundations of community health and well-being: affordable housing, a cleaner environment, economic opportunity and access to fresh food, convenient transportation, legal help and other services. The system strives to become as good at preventing disease as it is at treating it.
The system’s more than 600 doctors, 1,700 nurses and 7,800 employees go to work each day with a mission of service, to their patients and to the community. As Cuyahoga County’s safety-net health system, MetroHealth plays an essential role in the region, caring for anyone and everyone, regardless of an ability to pay.
Founded in 1837, MetroHealth operates four hospitals, four emergency departments and more than 20 health centers and 40 additional sites throughout Cuyahoga County. The system serves more than 300,000 patients, two-thirds of whom are uninsured or covered by Medicare or Medicaid.
MetroHealth 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 research and to teaching and training tomorrow’s caregivers. Each active staff physician holds a faculty appointment at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Its main campus hospital houses the Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s Lincoln-West School of Science & Health, the only high school in America located inside a hospital.
Knowing that good health is about much more than good medical care, MetroHealth has launched the Institute for H.O.P.E.™ (Health, Opportunity, Partnership, Empowerment), which uses a coordinated, collaborative and strategic approach to help patients with non-medical needs such as healthy food, stable housing and job training.
The MetroHealth Glick Center, a new 11-floor hospital, is under construction on the system’s main campus in Cleveland and is scheduled to welcome its first patients in October 2022. The billion-dollar project is the cornerstone of a wider neighborhood revitalization effort led by the system and its partners in the community.
For more information, visit metrohealth.org.