UD staff happy to do their part at COVID-19 testing site

Mobile health clinic set up University of Dayton Arena. People with doctor’s order can get tested for coronavirus at UD Arena parking lot in Dayton starting on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Premier Health is collaborating with the UD to set up a specimen collection site from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Staff photo: Marshall Gorby
Mobile health clinic set up University of Dayton Arena. People with doctor’s order can get tested for coronavirus at UD Arena parking lot in Dayton starting on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Premier Health is collaborating with the UD to set up a specimen collection site from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Staff photo: Marshall Gorby

The University of Dayton purchased a Clorox Total 360 system about a year ago. Mike Mulcahey, the head trainer for the Dayton Flyers men’s basketball team, wanted one to limit the risk of illness spreading among athletes.

The machine is an electrostatic sprayer that allows the user to disinfect the front, back and sides of surfaces in little time at all, and it has been put to use every day in recent weeks in a way no one expected.

Nate Seymour, who oversees UD’s sports medicine department, uses the Clorox unit every morning to treat the areas inside UD Arena where workers from Premier Health gather before and after treating patients at the drive-up COVID-19 testing site in the arena parking lot.

“I get there at about 6:45 or 7 a.m., and the crew starts showing up around 8 or 8:30,” Seymour said. “I want to make sure I’ve disinfected the area and everything has had time to settle and dry, and then I just get out of their way so that’s one less thing they have to worry about.”

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Seymour and UD Arena Director Scott DeBolt acknowledge they’re playing only a small role in the fight against coronavirus and the true heroes are the people from Premier Health doing the testing every day, not to mention the doctors and nurses across Ohio and the nation treating the sick. However, it’s a job they were proud to take on when the crisis caused the cancellation of the First Four and the NCAA tournament.

“It’s definitely a different type of March Madness,” DeBolt said. “We’ll do it as long as we’re needed.”

“Any way I can contribute,” Seymour said. “The city, the state, the world, everybody has been hit pretty hard by this, but any little bit we can do — especially for Dayton because we’ve had a rough year so far — I want to be able to jump in there and do that.”

The testing site opened March 17, the same day the First Four would have started. DeBolt received notification two days earlier that Premier wanted to use the parking lot. On March 16, they figured out the logistics and started setting up tents and placing traffic cones. A day later, at 10:30 a.m., they began testing.

“It was kind of a quick turnaround,” DeBolt said, “but the good news is we have great relationships with some of our vendors who can turn around stuff on a dime.”

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Prime Time Party and Event Rental, of Dayton, provided the tents where the testing is done. The Ohio Department of Transportation delivered electronic signs, which direct drivers where to go.

DeBolt and his staff open the arena every day for Premier Health, providing lunch and access to restrooms and space to take breaks. More than 1,400 people have been tested for the virus at UD Arena, according to the most recent update from Premier Health on Tuesday. The site is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Typically at this time of year, Seymour would have spent time at the First Four serving as a medical concierge for teams and as the drug testing coordinator for the NCAA. He’s considered essential staff at UD, so he had been coming into the office during this crisis. He knew his way around the Clorox machine so volunteered to take on the extra work.

“It feels good to contribute in some way to battling this thing,” he said.

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