At this point in the COVID-19 journey, the staff at Dimock operates the on-site testing center like clockwork. On average, 100 people are tested per day, within a two-hour window. Community members can walk or drive up to the outdoor structure and within minutes, be on their way, with test results coming back in 24-48 hours, thanks to a partnership with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC).
“When we started the testing operation in March, we had a very clear goal to ensure our patients could be tested in their own community, in a familiar setting, among familiar faces,” says Dr. Holly Oh, Dimock’s Chief Medical Officer. “It’s through the support of our donors that we could accomplish it. As the months have gone by, we’ve been able to evolve, expand our capacity, and refine our protocols.”
This fall, the staff were put to the test on a scale they hadn’t been before. Explains Dr. Michael Tang, Chief Behavioral Health Officer, “A patient arrived at our acute treatment center and during the admission process was offered a COVID test. He initially refused but after encouragement from our team, he changed his mind. The result came back positive.”
No time was wasted. The patient was immediately moved to the quarantine unit on campus, in the Dr. Marie Zakrzewska building. However, the brief time he spent in the detox meant anyone who had been in the same space was potentially exposed.
Every staff member, resident, and visitor who was at risk was identified – a total of 36 people. From there the team prepped the specimen kits, registered each person with BIDMC, organized the paperwork, conducted the tests, and sent them to be processed. This was accomplished within 36 hours of the initial positive test. Just 24 hours later, the results were back, all of them negative.
“The efficiency and amount of work it took to get this done so quickly are incredible,” says Dr. Tang. “It’s a testament to the dedication of our staff and the COVID-19 testing infrastructure we implemented nine months ago.”
The testing operation resumed its daily routine without missing a beat, serving a grateful community.
A special thank you to the following staff members for their remarkable work:
Maria Paula Arenas, Leandra Barbosa, Macadia Carter-Tshiamala, Lauren Conway-Russell, Dulceneia Correia, Dominique DuPont-DuBois, Selena Francis, Atanazia Gomes, Merelyn Hong, Shireen Khan, Leela Lutchmipersad, Shameka McCrary, Daniel Mota, Issa Noel, Holly Oh, Nandini Sengupta, Michael Tang, Jessica Vasquez, Cheyenne Wu, and Nusrat Zaffer.