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El Rio nurse teams testing Tucson’s most vulnerable for COVID-19

Published: May. 5, 2020 at 5:28 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Teams of nurses at El Rio Health are voluntarily going to nursing homes, homeless shelters and other facilities to test Tucson’s most vulnerable populations for COVID-19.

"The teams are willing to go above and beyond and put themselves at risk to go out and test," said Erin Paulow, the Associate Health Manager at El Rio's Congress Gomez Clinic.

Paulow is one of many nurses volunteering on a community outreach team. She said more than 100 staff members are involved.

"When we go to these locations, we test everybody who is there so we can capture not only the ones that aren't feeling well but the ones that are unknowingly infectious," Paulow said.

El Rio's outreach teams have tested more than 500 people and found several positive cases in Pima County. The teams are also helping test people on Saturdays for Arizona's testing blitz.

"It's very important that the folks that are positive, know that they are positive, so that they can isolate themselves and protect others," she said.

Paulo said going into the community to test people for COVID-19 is very rewarding.

"We are in healthcare to help others so this feeds our soul as well."

National Nurses Week starts Wednesday and runs through May 16.

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