LIBBY, Mont., May 7, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, The Center for Asbestos Related Disease (CARD) in Libby, Montana has been closed to hands-on patient care since mid-March. Due to the extremely high prevalence of asbestos-related lung disease in Libby and the surrounding county, as evidenced by its EPA Environmental Public Health Emergency designation, this step was taken to protect the area's uniquely vulnerable population. Those in the community with respiratory illnesses and lung diseases, such as asbestos-related diseases, are more prone to COVID-19. CARD's Medical Director, Dr. Brad Black, who also happens to be the Lincoln County Health Officer, has been leading the charge to keep members of the local community safe. He spearheaded using CARD personnel to staff a drive-through COVID-19 testing station in the CARD parking lot while the clinic was closed to patient traffic. In coordination with the Lincoln County Health Department and local clinics, this allowed early identification of disease within the population and provided a mechanism to limit possible exposure at other local health facilities. The county plans to continue to test 1,000 people per month as part of a public health surveillance initiative. Mechanisms are in place to identify and track contacts of positives, ensure quarantine when needed, and provide social support for those who may need assistance with basic needs during quarantine.
CARD will open for limited patient care and screenings as of May 11, 2020. Screeners from outlying areas are welcome to schedule appointments, but most of these will be managed under CARD's already established Long Distance Screening program so the risk to the local population is minimized. Cleaning, social distancing, mask use, and patient flow protocols have been put in place within the clinic to decrease the risk even further.
The Center for Asbestos Related Disease, a recognized center of excellence, is ready to continue its mission of screening, treatment, and research while taking a stand to protect its patients and community in the age of COVID-19.
SOURCE CARD Clinic - Libby, MT.