County Executive Budish Pledges $5 Million for Increased Covid Testing

Cleveland - County Executive Armond Budish Friday announced the County is committing $5 million to significantly increase Covid testing over the next months.

The funds will be supplied to the County Board of Health who will coordinate with MetroHealth in the implementation of the testing.

“The lack of access to testing for the coronavirus has been dangerous and even deadly to the residents of Cuyahoga County and people all over the world,” said County Executive Armond Budish. “An increase in testing capacity means quick identification of cases, quick treatment for those people and immediate isolation to prevent spread. I am grateful for MetroHealth and the Board of Health for their contributions and partnership in keeping our residents safe and healthy.”

The tests will be used to determine if people are currently infected and will focus on priority groups in the county. These groups will include hot spots or clusters detected by the County Board of Health, as well as congregate facilities such as homeless shelters, community health centers, adult homes for those with developmental disabilities, churches and other neighborhood sites.

“This is a welcome, public-health focused expansion of community-based testing in Cuyahoga County,” said Cuyahoga County Board of Health Commissioner Terry Allan. “The approach builds on our strong collaboration with Executive Budish, MetroHealth, and a range of other clinical partners during the ongoing pandemic response.”

Testing will be conducted by MetroHealth, with the guidance of the Board of Health, in drive thru locations and mobile testing sites. The Board of Health will coordinate with the City of Cleveland and other health partners. Much testing will be focused on those living in congregate group settings, the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, which is consistent with the “Priority 2” group that the Ohio Department of Health has mentioned in their testing protocol.

“Since March, teams of MetroHealth physicians and nurses have tested and cared for people living in homeless shelters, on the streets in camps, nursing homes and group homes—places where social distancing is very difficult,” said MetroHealth President and CEO, Akram Boutros, MD. “In partnership with Cuyahoga County and the Board of Health, we are ready to expand this important work across the county. This is what MetroHealth has done for nearly 200 years. We respond to crises, keep our community safe, and care for everyone, regardless of income, insurance status, or any other hurdle they may face.”

Photo by: Ken Robinson / WTAM 1100

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