April 3, 2020 - District Staff
The Desert Healthcare District and Foundation on Friday, April 3, approved allocating funds for about 10,000 rapid test kits, in a move aimed at flattening the curve of Covid-19's spread across the Coachella Valley. The Board voted 6-1 (one abstention) in favor of providing $350,000 for the valley's federally qualified health centers to purchase the tests.
"I want to commend the rapid and bold action of the Desert Healthcare District (DHCD) in approving this allocation to expand our options for testing for Covid-19," said V. Manuel Perez, Riverside County Supervisor. "In these uncertain times we must forge all the partnerships we can and be results-oriented on how we identify those who are positive and work to make sure we lessen the spread. I look forward to working with the DHCD to address the needs of expanded testing in the eastern Coachella Valley."
Here's what you should know:
The rapid tests, which have a turnaround time of 15 minutes for the results, are distributed by Henry Schein, Inc., a leading medical equipment supplier and manufacturer.
The tests are expected to arrive in a week and will be equitably distributed among the valley's three federally qualified health centers: Desert AIDS Project, Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo and Borrego Health. These centers serve the traditionally underserved and underrepresented communities, including eastern valley farm workers, facing the Covid-19 pandemic.
In addition to the $350,000 allocation for rapid tests, Board Directors approved at their March meeting contributing $1.2 million to collective efforts to address the virus. To see how the other funds are being used in partnership with Lift To Rise, the Regional Access Project Foundation, United Way of the Desert, Riverside University Health System and other partners, please click here.
With the demand for additional tests at an all-time high not only in the United States, but globally, Dr. Bárzaga recognized early on the importance and challenge of securing rapid tests for the valley as soon as possible.
"Widespread testing, which the World Health Organization supports, is a crucial tactic to stop the spread of any infectious disease, including Covid-19," Dr. Bárzaga says. "An essential benefit of testing is that it helps those who test positive to protect themselves, their family members and others by isolating, while also clarifying how our emergency rooms and other healthcare resources can be most effectively used."
About the Desert Healthcare District and Foundation
The Desert Healthcare District is a local government agency formed in 1948. Its mission is to achieve optimal health at all stages of life for all District residents. The District includes more than 400,000 residents and encompasses the entire Coachella Valley. The District and Desert Healthcare Foundation, together, are one of the largest funders in the valley. These funds are used to assist residents — especially the underserved — in accessing vitally needed resources, such as primary and behavioral healthcare, housing, food and transportation resources.
Please direct questions to Will Dean, director of communications and marketing, at firstname.lastname@example.org.