The quick spread of COVID-19 in 2020 was met with a swift response of its own in the form of mobile units, called “Moby” units, to identify those who were infected in a rural, underserved region of South Carolina. The success of the units cannot be overstated with more than 17,000 COVID-19 tests performed so far.
Using funds obtained through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, CareSouth Carolina purchased five “Moby” units; one for each South Carolina county they serve – Darlington, Lee, Chesterfield, Marlboro, and Dillon. The “Moby” units set up in a different location each day to provide safe and easy COVID-19 testing.
“We knew we needed to help the community. We also knew the underserved weren’t going to go to the hospital, so we needed to go to them,” said Randall Carlyle, CareSouth Carolina chief quality officer.
The “Moby” clinics are held throughout their coverage area in the parking lots of grocery stores, churches, YMCAs, libraries, and other locations. They have tested athletes at a local university and inmates at three detention centers. Carlyle said the biggest challenge they face is finding locations to park the vehicles for clinics.
Each “Moby” unit is staffed by a community health worker and a phlebotomist, and they can conduct as many as 80 tests during a four-hour clinic. They have designed the process to make it safe and convenient with patients sitting in their car until it is their turn and then they use a window in the side of the unit to be tested.
With the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine beginning, CareSouth Carolina is looking to eventually repurpose the units after the pandemic. Carlyle said the “Mobys” can be reoutfitted for community outreach such as child wellness visits, diabetes testing, and hypertension monitoring.
“There are many possibilities with the mobile units after COVID to address gaps in care,” he said.
For more information and to see the “Moby” units in action, click on the following link to access CareSouth Carolina’s Facebook video: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1206870776364968.