SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, May 4, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah is deploying its Cancer Screening and Education Bus to assist with COVID-19 testing, officials said Monday.
“Beginning today, the bus will target areas where rates of COVID-19 positive tests indicate a need for additional testing,” said a news release from HCI. “This effort is in collaboration with University of Utah Health and in coordination with local and community partners.”
Since its debut last fall, HCI’s Cancer Screening and Education Bus has provided mammography to more than 1,000 women, most of whom identify as low-income and underserved, the news release said.
“Last month, HCI made the difficult decision to suspend routine cancer screenings, which included pausing mobile breast cancer screening,” the news release said. “This decision was made to reduce the community spread of COVID-19, protect health care staff, and conserve personal protective resources.”
Now, the 45-foot-long mobile unit has been temporarily outfitted with special equipment to help with COVID-19 specimen processing and storage.
“We are honored to support these critical efforts and find new ways to serve our community,” said Don Milligan, MBA, executive director of HCI’s cancer hospital at U of U Health. “Redirecting some of our resources to better serve the immediate needs of individuals and families is the right thing to do at this unprecedented time. It extends our collective commitment to improving the health of all Utahns.”
Richard Orlandi, MD, chief medical officer of ambulatory health for U of U Health, added: “University of Utah Health has established many COVID-19 testing locations with the goal of reaching as many residents as possible. We are grateful to Huntsman Cancer Institute, who for over two decades, has been a trusted partner in our community. We are excited to begin this new collaboration with a strategic approach to provide resources and testing to some of our most vulnerable communities.”
Additional collaborators include ARUP Laboratories, the Utah Department of Health, the U of U’s David Eccles School of Business, and U of U Health’s Department of Family and Preventive Medicine.
People experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should call U of U Health’s coronavirus hotline at 801-587-0712 for an initial phone screening. This call will determine if a patient should be evaluated by a health care professional using virtual urgent care or needs to be tested at one of U of U Health’s testing sites.