The COVID-19 pandemic has affected minorities disproportionately. Black and Hispanic communities see more cases and more deaths due to coronavirus, but also have less access to testing. In line with our mission to improve the health of all people in Northeast Ohio, University Hospitals (UH) has designed the state’s first fully mobile and self-contained testing center. The mobile unit is visiting underserved areas across the region.
“University Hospitals has a long history of addressing health care disparities for underserved populations,” said Margaret Larkins-Pettigrew, MD, UH Edgar B. Jackson Chair of Clinical Excellence & Diversity. “We know transportation is a barrier to testing in these neighborhoods, so we’ve committed to bringing these valuable resources where they’re needed.”
The mobile testing unit is equipped with a plexiglass booth to separate the caregiver from the patient during testing. Three employees staff the unit, implementing regimented cleaning and sanitation protocols between patients. Only one patient will be present inside the unit at a time.
“There is a gap in the ability to test for COVID-19 in the most vulnerable areas,” said Brian Rothstein, MD, Clinical Ventures Fellow, UH Ventures, Assistant Professor of Pediatric Neurosurgery UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital. “With this mobile unit, we’re not only closing that gap by delivering our testing services, but spreading important information about the virus and how to combat it.”
The mobile unit conducts a limited number of tests at each location. The tests will be processed at UH’s core lab with a goal of having test results in less than 48 hours. If a patient does not have access to phone or internet, UH will hand-deliver positive test results. Patients seeking testing will need to provide either a driver’s license, state-issued ID or their name, address and social security number. Testing will be provided at no residual cost to patients.
UH is currently evaluating communities and determining exact locations for mobile testing. UH will work directly with leaders in each community to inform residents about details of upcoming visits.
Along with the deployment of the mobile unit, earlier this month, UH expanded COVID-19 testing to all UH Urgent Care locations, except UH Broadview Heights Urgent Care. Evaluation and testing at the mobile unit as well as Urgent Care locations is available for patients experiencing respiratory symptoms, such as a cough, fever or shortness of breath. We will not be testing patients who do not have symptoms.
Patients are strongly recommended to schedule their appointment online
. When patients arrive at an Urgent Care location, a health care provider will confirm their medical history, perform a physical exam if needed, and obtain samples for lab tests, which may include a nasal swab to test for COVID-19.
UH will continue to provide COVID-19 testing at four area Fever Clinics
. These clinics provide fast, safe medical attention for those who develop COVID-19 symptoms. Our Fever Clinic medical staff are specially trained and equipped to treat patients who suspect they have coronavirus.
For information about other ways to get tested for COVID-19 at University Hospitals visit our website