Community COVID-19 Surveillance Testing
LAWRENCE, KS – Back in September, LMH Health announced the funding received through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. One major area of focus for LMH Health’s funding request was testing in three specific areas: mass community testing, back-to-school baseline testing and healthcare and first responder surveillance testing.
Over the past few months, we have been working in partnership with Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health (LDCPH) and our clinicians to identify highest and best use for testing in these three areas. This funding has allowed us to create a plan and deliver testing for asymptomatic persons who live and work in Douglas County, testing for staff and residents of the Lawrence shelter, medical providers and more. We have been allotted a full total of 55,000 tests which we will be delegating to different areas and organizations within the Lawrence community based on guidance from LDCPH.
“We have collaborated to create a structured plan for allocating testing and to the delegated sites,” said Russ Johnson, LMH Health President and CEO. “The CARES Act provided the funding that has made surveillance testing possible and we appreciate the community support as we carry out all testing plans. We are thankful for the clear and strong leadership from LDCPH and for their guidance.”
Beginning next week, we will be rolling out our surveillance testing plan. Testing for public schools will begin on Nov. 30 and testing for private schools has already started. Although many people who are infected with COVID-19 become symptomatic, others do not show symptoms but can still spread the illness to others. With general population surveillance testing we strive to identify and mitigate asymptomatic cases in the community. One of our primary goals is to ensure that populations who are vulnerable or at higher risk have access to testing. LMH Health and LDCPH aim to ensure that individuals over 65 years of age, those with certain medical conditions, vulnerable populations and non-Lawrence residents are able to access a proportionate share of the tests available, the distribution of which has been determined by Public Health.
Per LDCPH, tests will be allocated based on number of constituents and the nature and frequency of each outreach event. The tests are saliva PCR tests and individuals will be required to spit into a tube in order to provide the sample. Staff will be available to answer any questions while the sample is being collected. Our goal is to provide easy access to testing back to the community to increase safety and decrease exposures from both those who may be symptomatic or not. More information about the specific testing plans will be available from each sector in the coming weeks.
“We have collaborated to create a structured plan that is both fair and accurate in allocating testing and amounts of testing to the delegated sites,” said Dan Partridge, director of LDCPH. “We are beyond grateful for the collaboration with LMH Health to carry out a plan that strives to better the health and safety of our community.”
About LMH Health
LMH Health, formerly Lawrence Memorial Hospital, was founded in 1921, and includes a 174-bed hospital located in Lawrence, Kansas, as well as a number of primary and specialty care clinics throughout Lawrence, Douglas County, Jefferson County and Leavenworth County. LMH Health is a community, not-for-profit hospital that serves the health care needs of the community regardless of an individual's ability to pay. LMH Health receives no tax support from the city of Lawrence or Douglas County. Dedicated to serving as a partner for lifelong health, LMH invests all excess revenues in services, equipment and facilities that further that mission.