Ford Helps Conduct Over 10K Mobile COVID-19 Tests
Back in April, Ford Motor Company kicked off a partnership with Wayne State University, the Wayne State University Physician Group, and ACCESS focused on delivering mobile COVID-19 tests. After more than two months, the coalition has tested more than 10,000 people in Michigan, and a new expansion promises to increase that number exponentially as infections surge across the country.
Ford announced this week that it and its in-house business incubator, Ford X, have converted four Transit vans to mobile testing units. One of the Transits is geared specifically toward healthcare workers, offering better protective equipment, drop-down workspaces, and centrifuges for analyzing blood. This provides a safer and more effective environment for healthcare workers whose work remains so crucial amid the coronavirus pandemic.
According to Phillip Levy, the vice president of Translational Sciences and Clinical Research Innovation at WSU as well as the chief innovation officer for WSUPG, the expansion allows more local communities to take advantage of testing. He also notes that having more test sites allows the units to expand their capabilities into blood pressure screenings and HIV tests.
“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,” said ACCESS Chief Operating Officer Lina Hourani-Harajli.
First responders, frontline workers remain the priority
When the program launched in April, two Lincoln Navigator SUVs were used for the testing sites. Borrowed from the Lincoln Personal Driver program, the Navigators will continue to serve in the fight against COVID-19 by running equipment and supplies between the test units and laboratories.
The Lincoln Personal Driver program has also been leveraged in other ways during the pandemic. In March, following the declaration of a national emergency, Lincoln leveraged its fleet to deliver food, medical supplies, and other essentials to vulnerable members of the southeast Michigan community.
While the expansion of the number of testing sites means that more citizens can receive testing, Ford notes that frontline workers remain the priority. Tests are being carried out at nursing homes, community shelters, and other places where there’s a great need. Ford, Wayne State University, the Wayne State University Physician Group, and ACCESS are looking into ways to further expand the fleet and increase testing capabilities.