Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn today announced it has partnered with Detroit’s Wayne State University, the WSU Physician Group, and Dearborn’s ACCESS to create a mobile COVID-19 testing service. The effort is designed for first responders, health care workers, and corrections officers in the state.
The program is an extension of drive-through testing sites that opened in Detroit and Dearborn on March 20 with financial backing from WSU’s office of the president. To date, 3,300 police officers, firefighters, and health care professionals have been tested at those sites by WSU Physician Group and ACCESS volunteers.
Ford’s in-house incubator, Ford X, is providing Lincoln Navigators and drivers from the Lincoln Personal Driver pilot service and is equipping them with tents, sanitation, power, and WiFi to support mobile testing. Each vehicle will also transport staff and contain medical kits provided by WSU and ACCCESS.
“This support for those on the front lines of the pandemic is critical, and we felt we needed to respond urgently by testing first responders and health care workers with drive-through testing,” says M. Roy Wilson, president of WSU. “Now we can expand our efforts with drive-to testing for those first responders across the region who lack access to testing. We are extremely grateful to Ford for helping us expand this initiative and bring mobile testing to these high-risk individuals, and to the United Way for its support of both our drive-through and drive-to initiatives.”
Each vehicle will be able to test up to 100 people per day, with test results returned within 24-36 hours. Prescriptions for the free testing are not required.
“We believe this work with Wayne State and their coalition to improve access to testing for Michigan first responders is a meaningful opportunity to use our mobility knowledge and resources to help our community during this pandemic,” says Kristin Welch, manager of strategy and operations at Ford X. “This work is in addition to that being done by our colleagues throughout the company to help produce and distribute critical medical equipment including face masks and ventilators to support those that are caring for and protecting others during these uncertain times.”
Testing will begin in southeast Michigan and is expected to branch out to other regions of the state including Battle Creek, Lansing, and Grand Rapids.
“As a community nonprofit with longtime partnerships with both Ford and Wayne State, we are pleased to expand this critical collaboration,” says Lina Hourani-Harajli, COO of ACCESS. “When we look back at this defining moment in history, it is truly gratifying to see how many incredible institutions have stepped up to be a small part of helping our frontline heroes fight against this pandemic.”
Agencies interested in hosting a testing site can call (313) 269-1952 or email Mseredynski@accesscommunity.org.
Ford has already produced more than 3 million face shields in Plymouth, and Ford-designed powered air-purifying respirator production started this week. The company is also producing face masks and leading an effort to scale production of reusable gowns for health care workers, with more than 5,000 gowns already supplied to Beaumont Health.
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