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Every day we learn more about COVID-19 — how to slow its spread and how to minimize its impact on our communities. Members of the OHSU community are working together and providing leadership to the State of Oregon on how to care for patients, protect our health care workers, fight the pandemic and, most importantly, save lives.

Thanks to crucial investments and generous gifts from donors in the Pacific Northwest and around the country, OHSU is more prepared to serve on the frontline of care and research in these unprecedented times. This is a dynamic time, and information changes daily, but donor support has already made a significant impact on how OHSU addresses the pandemic.

In March, OHSU launched a clinical microbiology lab that enables the university to test COVID-19 samples on campus, rather than ship them to an outside lab. Fully compliant with federal testing guidelines, the new lab has reduced the time for a result from 5 days to 5 hours. The lab started from nothing; it was constructed, stocked, staffed and operational in just 14 days. As a result, by April 11, the lab increased our capacity to test 800 samples each day. The process has been powered by a team of clinical pathologists and OHSU scientists who came together in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Donations are helping to expand our capacity to offer diagnostic testing to more patients and health care providers — a continuing area of focus and priority at OHSU.

Another development on the front lines is the COVID-19 Connected Care Center, a new hotline and telemedicine service for OHSU patients, the general public, and community practices with questions regarding COVID-19. The hotline, funded by a $1.6 million donation from the Andrew and Corey Morris-Singer Foundation, is expanding patient access to health care professionals across Oregon — keeping patients safely at home when appropriate, segregating ill patients into a respiratory clinic, and providing invaluable information to the “worried well.” (Update: On April 22, OHSU announced that the hotline had expanded statewide.)

Our health care workforce is at the front lines of a major health pandemic. The influx of gifts in support of OHSU’s COVID-19 response has been critical. All of this means OHSU is able to best help you protect your health, and care for our patients across Oregon and beyond — and that’s our highest priority.