Gila River Indian Community increases testing capabilities

Christopher Lomahquahu

Gila River Indian News



Gila River Indian Community implements Abbot analyzers to test frontline staff and increase availability of testing. Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis updated the Community about the need to increase testing for patients coming in with symptoms associated with COVID-19 during a video address on April 22. 


“We’ve already been able to put this into effect, using the Abbott analyzer to test key employees in the facility where COVID-19 was detected to confirm that none of the employees were infected and could remain at their stations,” said Lewis. 


He said the ability to test employees and get results in a matter of minutes is crucial in caring for the welfare and safety of healthcare and first responders on the frontline. It also allows the Community to maintain a level of critical services to GRIC members during a health crisis. 


Lewis added, “the Community has entered into a partnership with the Mayo Clinic – Phoenix Campus to increase the availability of testing, with results that are expected within 48 hours. Through contacts initiated by our Senate Delegation of Kyrsten Sinema and Martha McSally, I spoke with Dr. Richard Gray and we formed a partnership that will allow use of Mayo Clinic labs for testing”


 In addition, Gila River Health Care is working to bring TGEN, a local genomics research institute that has the capability to test for COVID-19. “[These] testing sources, will allow us to roll-out a broader testing plan. With increase testing, we can expand out to other vulnerable areas of the Community.” 


Lewis said, “Seeking ways to increase testing capacity has paid off.” Testing numbers have significantly gone up throughout his recent video updates as the Community explores ‘new ways’ to improve testing.