Marshall Health at 50,000 tests, and counting
by Adam Franks
When Marshall Health’s department of family and community health opened its drive-thru COVID-19 testing site more than 18 months ago, we never imagined passing a threshold of 50,000 nasal testing swabs. It started as a practical way to provide testing services to our patients, but it quickly evolved into a community-wide resource. Now, it represents so much more.
Regardless of where you live, who your doctor is, your vaccination or insurance status, our testing site, along with other sites throughout the region, have helped individuals determine their COVID-19 status so they can take appropriate measures to limit its spread. The drive-thru has also helped conserve limited personal protective equipment (PPE) and protect patients, families, medical staff and providers by keeping those potentially suffering from COVID-19 out of hospital and clinic waiting rooms.
Everyone has felt the impact of this pandemic — work restrictions, virtual schooling, canceled vacations and family gatherings, and not to be understated, the tragic loss of family and friends who suffered serious illness and death from COVID-19. As a physician, I have seen people from all walks of life experience the fear that can come from facing the unknowns of a COVID-19 exposure and/or positive test result. We, too, feel the stress of this pandemic and frustration from COVID-19 information overload.
But 50,000 tests later, I am inspired by the resilience of our health care team and our community. I am thankful for the faculty, resident physicians and staff of Marshall Family Medicine who have staffed the testing tent, rain or shine. I am thankful to live in a city with two major hospitals and a medical school. I am thankful that, when times are tough, organizations throughout our community rally together without hesitation to help and care for one another. Each COVID-19 test we administer is an extension of our mission as part of the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and the commitment we made as an institution 44 years ago to care for this community — in sickness and in health.
Now, 50,000 swab tests later, we can’t give up. Community health requires a community effort. As a longtime local medical professional, I assure you that vaccinations absolutely cut community transmission rates and reduce your chances of serious illness and/or death. I also know firsthand that wearing masks, frequent hand-washing and staying home when you don’t feel well make a difference. Amid this latest surge, together we can make our community healthier. We have to work together to make our community healthier.
This article appeared in the October 24, 2021, edition of the Herald Dispatch.
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