MIDLAND, Texas — COVID-19 is forcing people to work from home, but for some workers that isn't possible.
People who work in the energy sector may not be able to work from home, and as a result are putting themselves at risk for COVID-19.
RigUp is one of those companies where workers still need to go out into the field. They are aware of the threat of COVID-19 and have partnered with imaware, a digital health organization that provides access to advanced testing and telemedicine physician services that empowers individuals with remote screening and monitoring of their health.
"We think it’s important that people have access to a step one approach which is to determine sort of through an online quiz if they been exposed to have symptoms with people traveling to the job site and going back home," said Jani Tuoni, Co-founder of imaware.
Now imaware could have started in an area where there is a bigger population or where there are more cases of COVID-19, but Leslie Elliott, Managing Director of RigUp said that there is a big need here in West Texas.
"We also know that getting access to the testing isn’t easy anymore. We’re all in remote areas so we wanted to bring this to where the core of our workforce is, which is you know Permian Basin, Midland, Odessa, San Angelo," Elliott said.
These workers will all have the opportunity to be screened for symptoms and categorized as low, medium or high risk. Those who come back as medium or high risk will get a swab taken that day and should see results from the test within 72 hours.
One of the most important aspects of this partnership is that imaware is offering these test kits to RigUp for free during this pilot phase with hopes to expand across Texas and then eventually the rest of the country.
"I think someone notable offering this for free to our workforce through a kind of pilot phase and supporting them through that, and you know hopefully it's something we’ll be able to continue to build upon and offer to our workforce across the U.S. very quickly here," Elliott said.
RigUp has screened about 100 workers so far, and they hope to have screened about 150 people by the end of the weekend. RigUp also plans to launch this screening tool to their first large solar site which has about 500 workers next week.
MORE FROM NEWSWEST 9: