Elanco donates testing supplies to Community Health Center
8 Apr 2020
Community Health Center of Fort Dodge received a special and much-needed gift from Elanco Animal Health on Tuesday morning.
Jason Hansen and Lee Stimpson, Elanco staff members, delivered just over 1,000 vials filled with a solution called viral transport medium to the Community Health Center, 126 N. 10th St.
Viral transport media, or VTM, is a preservative solution that keeps a virus active until it can be tested. When a health care worker conducts a swab test for the COVID-19 coronavirus, the swab is sealed in a vial of the VTM so it can be shipped to the state hygienic lab or other testing facilities.
“This is the key component that we’re missing,” said Renae Kruckenberg, chief executive officer of Community Health Center. “We get a very limited supply from the state hygienic lab, so we have to be even more selective with testing than we normally would be.”
So far, the Community Health Center has done about 30 COVID-19 tests. The additional VTM vials will increase the center’s capacity for collecting testing samples, but that doesn’t mean that just anyone will be tested. Community Health Center will continue to follow guidelines from the state hygienic lab and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on who should be tested.
“We want to test the ones that need to be tested, and right now we’re really looking at the nursing home staff because they’re in there with that vulnerable population,” said Dr. Elizabeth Stoebe, Community Health Center medical director. “There are a lot of people who want to be tested that don’t meet the guidelines.”
The VTM vials will be stored at 4 degrees Celsius in several refrigerators that are normally used to store vaccines during influenza season.
Elanco’s donation is very important to Kruckenberg and the Community Health Center staff.
“It truly means the world to me,” she said. “When I reached out to them, it was one of those things where my fingers were crossed, I’d only told a couple people here that I was reaching out to them to see if they could do it, because I didn’t know.”