COVID-19 Quick turnaround for mobile testing in Oregon schools

Kelly J. Kaczala

            The Oregon City Schools (OCS) district recently finalized a partnership with Mercy Health and the Toledo Lucas County Health Department to use the Mercy Health Mobile COVID Testing Team to support the students and staff in the district.
        “We are very excited and blessed to have this partnership,” said Superintendent Hal Gregory.
        In a supportive response to the district’s restart plan, the formal partnership with Mercy Health has expanded to assist the school system with quick and responsive COVID testing.
        “As we bring the majority of our students back to school, Mercy Health has committed to activate their Mobile COVID Testing Team to complete needed COVID testing to any student or staff member of Oregon City Schools,” said Gregory. “The Toledo Lucas County Health Department has committed to providing testing kits to Mercy Health.”
        “Mercy Health is committed to providing health care solutions to everyone in the community,” said Bob Baxter, Mercy Health – Toledo market president. “In discussions with the Oregon City School District, it became apparent that they were in need of an immediate testing solution to safely implement its return-to-school plan. Mercy Health is excited to provide the solution that will ensure the safe return of our community’s most valuable assets, our children.”
Mobile team
        How does it work?
        A referral would be made by OCS to Mercy Health, explained Gregory. Mercy Health will contact the family or staff member upon being notified by OCS.
        “In most cases, this will occur the same day,” said Gregory. Mercy Health will schedule a time for their Mobile Team to come out to a person’s home to administer a COVID test. In most cases, this will also occur the same day. Testing results may come back in 24 hours.”
        Students or staff who exhibit virus symptoms will qualify.
“The referral will come directly from our OCS school nurse and Mercy Health Nurse Practitioner Cherie Sexton.
         “The goal is to respond quickly to each situation to limit the amount of time students and staff are quarantined. Keeping students coming to school… continue to be our priorities.”
        He thanked Mercy Health and the health department for their willingness to streamline the testing process and help the community stay safe and educated, he said.
        “This process is a major component for potentially keeping our schools open and students safe as the virus continues to spread,” he said.
        Mercy Health reminded the community that the best way to reduce the spread of COVID-19 is through proper mask wearing, proper hand hygiene and maintaining social distancing. Also, although flu vaccines will not reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19, it will help you avoid getting COVID-19 and the flu at the same time.
        The mobile team became available last month


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