MedStar has entered a partnership with the Tarrant County to perform in-home testing for COVID-19 for people under investigation and being monitored for the virus.
The partnership announced this week would send specifically trained MedStar personnel into the homes of residents who are being monitored for COVID-19.
"Medstar, for years, has had a community-paramedicine program and has had specially trained paramedics who do things to help people from having to go to the hospital," Medstar spokesperson Matt Zavadsky said. "That same group of paramedics have now been trained how to do the COVID 19 testing and swabbing."
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The program specifically applies to patients who are considered at high-risk of contracting the virus. In some cases, they may already have it and may need a follow-up.
"They [county] will give us a list everyday of the people that they want us to stop by and see, schedule an appointment with, to do the assessment. Do the sample collection and then drop back off at their lab in Fort Worth," Zavadsky said. "We’re going to start this process by having 50 kits available. The county will decide how many patients they want us to test. It is possible that we will do none. It is possible that we will do 10 to 20 a day. It just depends how many people are under investigation, in their homes, and if Tarrant County Public Health wants us to go out and do the evaluation on them."
As of Friday morning, Tarrant County has reported 114 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
"One of the greatest goals that this partnership achieves is not having to need for the person who’s under investigation having to travel to a testing site and all of the potential contamination that could occur with that but it also makes more effective use of the health department’s resources. Right now, they are stretched to the max," Zavadsky said. "To our knowledge, no one else is doing it countrywide. We’ve gotten a lot of inquiries already just today from other systems across the country saying, 'Hey, let us know how this works because I’d like to replicate this program in other communities across the country'".
Paramedics conducting tests will be equipped with protective gear like masks, face shields, and gowns. Under the partnership, public health officials are responsible for notifying the resident the results of the test.
MedStar is providing this service at no cost to TCPH.