DEARBORN, Mich., April 15, 2020 – Ford Motor Company, Wayne State University, the Wayne State University Physician Group, and ACCESS are launching a new initiative to improve access to COVID-19 testing for symptomatic first responders, health care workers, and corrections officers in Michigan.
Ford is providing vehicles, drivers, and equipment to help create the first mobile testing service in Michigan.
The effort is an extension of drive-through testing sites that opened in Detroit and Dearborn on March 20 with financial backing from Wayne State University’s Office of the President. To date, 3,300 police officers, firefighters, and health care professionals have been tested at those sites by WSU and ACCESS health care professionals and 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 Wi-Fi to support mobile testing. Each vehicle will be fully equipped for mobile COVID-19 testing with staff and medical kits provided by WSU and ACCESS.
“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,” said WSU President M. Roy Wilson. “Now we can expand our efforts with ‘drive-to’ testing for those first responders across the region who lack access to testing.”
Each Navigator is fully-equipped for mobile COVID-19 testing and can accommodate as many as 100 people a day, with test results returned within 24 to 36 hours. The mobile testing program launched April 13.
“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,” Wilson continued.
“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,” added Kristin Welch, Manager, Strategy & Operations, Ford X.
Where & How Testing Will Take Place In Michigan
Testing will begin in southeast Michigan, and is expected to encompass other regions of the state, including Battle Creek, Lansing, and Grand Rapids. Testing will take place as long as the virus continues to impact communities. Clinicians and professionals from WSU and ACCESS will provide free testing that does not require a prescription from a physician.
“As a community nonprofit with longtime partnerships with both Ford and Wayne State, we are pleased to expand this critical collaboration,” said Lina Hourani-Harajli, Chief Operating Officer 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.”
“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,” Welch added.
In addition, Wayne State has established the Warrior Relief and Response campaign to provide support for critical programs and services. Gifts in support of COVID-19 mobile testing will help increase access to much needed screening and testing within the metro Detroit area.