Ford, Wayne State University, the Wayne State University Physician Group and ACCESS are launching a new initiative, which will improve access to Covid-19 testing for symptomatic first responders, health care workers and corrections officers in Michigan.

Ford is providing vehicles, drivers and equipment to help create the first mobile testing service in Michigan.

The effort is an extension of drive-through testing sites that opened in Detroit and Dearborn on 20 March with financial backing from Wayne State University’s Office of the President. To date, 3,300 police officers, firefighters and health care professionals have been tested at those sites, by WSUPG and ACCESS health care professionals and volunteers.

Ford’s in-house incubator, Ford X, is providing Lincoln Navigators and drivers from the Lincoln Personal Driver pilot service and is equipping them with tents, sanitation, power and Wi-Fi to support mobile testing. Each vehicle will be fully equipped for mobile Covid-19 testing with staff and medical kits provided by WSU and ACCESS.

“This support for those on the front lines of the pandemic is critical and we felt we needed to respond urgently by testing first responders and health care workers with drive-through testing,” said WSU president, Roy Wilson. “Now we can expand our efforts with ‘drive-to’ testing for those first responders across the region who lack access to testing.”

Each vehicle will be fully-equipped for mobile Covid-19 testing and will be capable of handling as many as 100 people a day, with results returned within 24 to 36 hours. The mobile testing programme launched on 13 April.

“We believe this work with Wayne State and their coalition to improve access to testing for Michigan first responders is a meaningful opportunity to use our mobility knowledge and resources to help our community during this pandemic,” said Ford X Strategy & Operations manager, Kristin Welch.

“This work is in addition to that being done by our colleagues throughout the company to help produce and distribute critical medical equipment including face masks and ventilators to support those that are caring for, and protecting others during these uncertain times.”