BOISE, Idaho — One of the biggest challenges of the coronavirus has been testing, so far Idaho has tested almost 12,000 people for COVID-19, but more needs to be done.
So Idaho businessman Tommy Ahlquist came up with an idea he got from Utah to create a testing program for essential workers in an effort to assess, test and trace the spread of the coronavirus.
Dr. Ahlquist used his resources and his contacts to get Crush the Curve up and running, on the first day they were able to test hundreds of people.
“I think some of the frustration is everybody said there are not enough tests, well we found there are tests, we just had to go find them," said Ahlquist. "The answer, there is no pathway through this until we know where we are on the curve.”
We've been told we need to flatten the curve, but we don't know where Idaho sits on the curve and that was the driving force behind this initiative.
“We’re hoping to do a thousand tests a day to find out where we are on the curve," said Ahlquist. "Then through the same initiative offer antibody testing very soon so we can know who’s had it and how we get back to work.”
The focus of this program is on essential workers, those who are on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.
Crush the Curve Idaho wants to provide a path for health care workers, grocery store clerks, delivery drivers and first responders to have access to testing.
This initiative is in conjunction with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, the tests are taking place in labs the state is already using, but Crush the Curve Idaho is helping streamline the process.
"We are testing with commercial labs through traditional testing sites and reporting to the state," said Ahlquist. "We are using their channels, we were just able to secure more tests, set up call centers and a process to allow people to get access.”
It's been a true team effort and while Ahlquist got the ball rolling several business in Idaho as well as government officials stepped up to support this initiative.
“I was shocked how quickly this started, I shouldn’t have been because we have great people here," said Ahlquist. "Everyone was willing to say put me on a committee, tell me what to do so we divided into seven committees and just went after it.”
If you have symptoms of the coronavirus click on this link and all you have to do is complete a quick assessment, if you are really sick or you are an at risk person for COVID-19 you should call your health provider directly.
Here's a list of the businesses who helped make Crush the Curve Idaho a reality.
Jackson Food Stores
Blue Cross of Idaho
Idaho Centeral Credit Union
Teton Auto Group
Rexburg Motor Sports