The fight against the spread of COVID-19 isn’t an individual effort. It takes community-wide support to present a unified front against the pandemic that continues to disrupt the status quo of life in the U.S. and throughout the world.
For its part, FLW continues to lend support wherever possible, including offering the use of one of its Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine weigh-in trailers to a community task force centered in Paducah, Ky., which is using the trailer as part of its outdoor COVID-19 testing facility.
“We’re using it [the trailer] as a checkpoint,” says Jennie Morehead, who is the executive director of wellness at HealthWorks Medical, LLC in Paducah and serves as a “community worker” for the task force. “We check patients in from the stage, which gives us distance between the patients and our staff.”
For a mobile testing facility like the one set up in the enormous parking lot at Heartland Church in Paducah, compartmentalization is crucial for the safety of workers and all those who visit the facility for testing. The FLW trailer is part of that process, which also includes a drive-thru testing area created by cordoning off a breezeway enclosed by 10-by-10 garage doors that were supplied and installed by a local donor.
“People go in, and they never leave their car; it’s fully enclosed,” adds Morehead. “It’s not a breach of HIPAA, and it’s safer for our swabbers.”
Morehead, whose husband, Dan, fished 22 years on the FLW Tour before retiring in 2018, is grateful for FLW’s support and thankful to have a “fishing family” as part of the cause.
“FLW is family,” she says. “Fishing family is always family.”
Dr. James Kyle Turnbo, MD, FACOM, MPH, MRO took the lead in setting up the community taskforce initially. It’s comprised of local hospitals, community leaders and state health departments. Owner and operator of HealthWorks Medical, Dr. Turnbo has worn many hats throughout the process.
“We have made a strategic plan that includes the development of a drive-thru testing location that clinicians can order testing of their patients through,” he says. “We developed a secure HIPAA-compliant app that clinicians can use to communicate with locations at the hospitals as well as this drive-thru location in order to coordinate the effort of testing and resulting turnaround for our patients.”
While the facility is located in Paducah, it’s not just a Paducah or McCracken County facility.
“It’s a community effort of which we service all of the Purchase-area counties,” says Morehead. “Even though we’re in Paducah, it’s not a Paducah thing; it’s a western Kentucky thing.”
According to D r. Turnbo, the facility serves as a testing location for patients whose clinicians have ordered testing for COVID-19, and only patients with orders to be tested at the facility should plan to visit.
“The only way they can come is through a clinician’s order,” he explains. “The clinician will evaluate them and if they feel they’re appropriate for testing.
“We do have the local sheriff and police departments here. They’re monitoring and controlling traffic and preventing people from showing up inappropriately for testing. We do have information for people who don’t have an order about how they can get in contact with a clinician if they don’t have one already and how they can quarantine at home if they don’t need to be tested.”
Like Morehead, Dr. Turnbo is thrilled to have the support of FLW through the use of its trailer and proud of the way the community has responded to this crisis.
“This is our second full week of COVID testing,” he says. “We’ve done over 100 tests already, and it’s been well received by the community. Our community is staying ahead of the curve as far as bending the incidence curve, so we’re pretty proud of the community’s response, and the FLW trailer has been instrumental in allowing us to do this from a safe distance with all the appropriate control mechanisms from an infectious disease standpoint. We’re tremendously grateful for the contribution.
“Everybody in the community has really stepped up and contributed; certainly, FLW and other local contractors. It’s really been a nice demonstration of what a community can do when they come together.”