St. Luke’s WR Foundation and Local Physician Team Up to Expand COVID Testing

Generosity and visionary doc come together

 October 31, 2020—Community generosity and clinical innovation will make it possible to expand viral detection testing in the Wood River Valley.

“Expanded viral detection testing—combined with social distancing, wearing masks, and frequent hand washing—is part of a strategy to suppress the pandemic and keep our people healthy and our economy strong,” said Tom Archie, MD.

COVID Outreach Wood River is a Community COVID Health Fair produced through a collaboration between the St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation and Tom Archie, MD to expand the local availability of COVID19 Viral Detection nasal swab PCR testing.

“This investment is one strategy to help suppress the pandemic in the Wood River Valley,” said Megan Dawson Edwards, president of the St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation. “We are incredibly grateful for Dr. Archie’s vision and the generosity of the community that has made this effort a reality.”

The project came together with the altruistic intentions of Dr. Archie who heard a news story about a similar effort in Philadelphia. Synergistically, passionate community philanthropists were seeking innovative ways to expand testing for the Wood River Valley. The project was well aligned with the St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation’s mission to inspire generosity that improves health and well-being in the community.

Currently, testing is only available in the Wood River Valley for people with clear COVID-19 symptoms.

The goal of the project is to fill a COVID PCR testing gap produced by the lack of available testing for asymptomatic people. The project will prioritize those who have had a close-contact exposure to someone with COVID19 or have an upcoming out-of-area medical procedure requiring testing. People who are symptomatic but have difficulty accessing testing will also be served. Symptomatic patients should continue to access testing through St. Luke’s.

By increasing testing availability, a greater number of people with new COVID19 infections will be able to more quickly self-quarantine and thereby protect others.

Efforts are underway to be fully inclusive and ensure broad valley access to this testing outreach by addressing predictable language, digital access, and cultural barriers. Currently, this includes in the coming weeks the positioning of testing locations on bus lines and near bus stops, scheduling weekend testing on Saturdays in Bellevue (and Fridays in Hailey), planning to grow staffing so as to extend into a mobile format for businesses with many employees and outbreak concerns.

Also, in the coming few weeks, this effort will see the translation of the website and scheduling questionnaire into Spanish and the development of access to interpreter services. Online-only scheduling and communication can remain a barrier for some, though the website and scheduling system both functions well on mobile devices

To schedule testing or for more information visit: COVIDOutreachWoodRiver.com

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    This project is made possible through community generosity. If you would like to support COVID testing efforts, please join us by making a gift
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For more information on this press release or to arrange an interview contact:

Megan Tanous
Chief Development Officer
St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation
(208) 309 1320 or thomasme@slhs.org