Ford expands COVID-19 testing around Michigan

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic started, testing is one of the most important things to do to help prevent if not reduce the spread of the virus.

Ford Motor Company’s alliance with Wayne State University, the Wayne State University Physician Group, and ACCESS began to expand the mobile testing effort in June 29. This means they will be able to increase the number of test vehicles, expand areas of operation, as well as the tests that will be available to be used.

The initiative has tested more than 10,000 individuals throughout Michigan since it launched in mid-April. Frontliners, especially first responders, health care workers, police officers, and firefighters are also included in the testing.

More people are continuously being tested more than once to make sure they are virus-free. The coalition's efforts are also giving testing services to Michigan’s local communities, assisting those who are at a high risk, those who might have been exposed to the virus, and those might just not be showing symptoms.

The medical frontliners are administering tests in communal spaces such as nursing homes, substance abuse centers, homeless/community shelters and more.

Ford testing

In addition to active virus and antibody testing related to COVID-19, the service has been expanded to include HIV testing and blood pressure screenings. These services have been added to support those who may have high risk for disease in general, underlying conditions, or who may not have access to more traditional health care services.

“Although there is still a strong need for COVID-19 testing, expanding our services to include blood pressure and HIV testing, and broadening our community outreach, allows us to have even a bigger impact in improving community health,” said Phillip Levy, M.D., M.P.H., WSU’s assistant vice president for Translational Sciences and Clinical Research Innovation, and associate chair for Research in the Department of Emergency Medicine, as well as WSUPG’s chief innovation officer.

Four Transits were provided by Ford and its in-house incubator Ford X as clinical test vehicles to conduct and support testing for symptomatic and asymptomatic persons. Each are fully dressed up for mobile COVID-19 testing, ravemped to be better suited for medical frontliners. Built-in features include drop-down tables, additional power sources, centrifuges for blood draws, refrigeration, and more safety equipment.

Kristin Welch, Manager, Strategy & Operations, Ford X said, “As stay-at-home restrictions are lifted and people ease back into their normal routines, there is still a huge need for accessible COVID-19 testing. With a larger fleet and the capability to service a growing number of areas, we are proud to help expand this initiative beyond front-line health care workers and aid communities in need.”

Ford testing

There will be tents, sanitation, power, and Wi-Fi for each vehicle in order to support the mobile testing being done. As Ford continues to think of more ways to expand the fleet, two Lincoln Personal Driver vehicles were previously provided by the company to be used to run medical supplies and equipment to testing sites and lab facilities. 

ACCESS Chief Operating Officer Lina Hourani-Harajli stated that, “As a community nonprofit, we see firsthand that major health disparities exist within the most vulnerable populations. During these trying times, this project has been a heartwarming reminder of the strong bonds of humanity and what can happen when we join hands to battle even the most formidable of challenges.”

Clinicians and professionals from Wayne State University, the Wayne State University Physician Group and ACCESS are giving free testing. The results of the tests are consistently returned within 24 hours.

In the Philippines, Ford Motor Company has also lent their vehicles in order to help frontliners.  Ford Philippines partnered up with a private ambulance provider to contribute Ford Transit vans to transport healthcare workers and medical front liners all around the metro. 

Photos from Ford 

Also Read: 

Ford revives F-150 in PH

Ford starts annual internship program amid COVID-19 pandemic


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