IDAHO FALLS — Businesses around the state are taking action to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and get people back to work by providing thousands of weekly tests for essential workers.
The Crush the Curve Idaho campaign started Wednesday. It is a coordinated effort by Idaho businesses, innovators and leaders. They’re focusing on testing health care workers (direct patient care), first responders, grocery store workers, convenience store workers, home health and senior care employees, food service workers, and delivery drivers who come in contact with the public, according to a press release.
“If you’re one of those frontline workers, you’re key,” Ball Ventures CEO Cortney Liddiard told EastIdahoNews.com. “We’ve got to make sure that you’re protected, you’re healthy, but also that you’re not spreading it.”
Idaho’s business community has secured 1,500 daily COVID-19 tests for Idaho essential workers, Liddiard said.
“I think like anything else with private business, it’s relationships,” Liddiard said. “If you keep focusing and calling enough people, I wouldn’t say it’s an easy job, but it’s when you’re putting people together that have relationships, that’s how we source them.”
Idahoans must visit Crush the Curve Idaho to see if they qualify as an essential worker and if there’s a participating testing site nearby.
If you qualify for a test after taking the assessment, you will be called and scheduled at the nearest testing center. Results will be reported back to you within two business days, the news release states. Positive tests will be sent to the state for tracing.
“Testing is the way out of this, period,” CEO of BVA Development Tommy Ahlquist told the Idaho Statesman. “There is no other way out of it. … There is no other way to get people back to work.”
Crush the Curve Idaho logo. | Courtesy Crush the Curve Idaho
Ahlquist came across a video on Thursday about how Utah is trying to crush the curve. Crush the Curve Idaho is based on the TestUtah model, Liddiard said.
From there, they reached out to Idaho’s businesses to see who they could get on board with the concept. Locally — along with Ball Ventures — Teton Auto Group, B&T Hospitality and Rexburg Motor Sports are part of this, Liddiard said.
There are almost 20 founding companies.
“We have been woefully under testing in Idaho,” Ahlquist said in the news release. “I am proud of the coalition of business leaders who have stepped up to help solve this problem at a time of crisis.”
Ahlquist told the Idaho Statesman he hopes to expand eligibility as the initiative gathers more resources.
The organization is also actively sourcing antibody tests. An antibody test will determine if a person has built up an immunity to the virus and is safe to re-engage in the community.
“We are working on selecting the supplier of that test,” Liddiard said.
Liddiard said there’s not a specific amount of tests available in eastern Idaho. It’s more based on demand throughout the state.
The likely referral for where an eastern Idaho resident would be tested would take place through Mountain View Hospital, Ball Ventures Marketing Manager Liza Leonard said. The hospital would provide the person being tested with more details as far as scheduling and location, she added.
Leonard also said most insurances qualify to cover the testing. For information on costs, Leonard said the patient would need to talk with Mountain View.
“I think this is a great example of how private business and government can work together right now,” Liddiard said. “Private businesses put this together, and the government and the state will be doing the tracing.”