From teeth to COVID-19 testing is RAM’s shift

While Remote Area Medical Volunteer Corps’s dental clinics are postponed through July, its people are staffing COVID-19 testing sites, according to Chris Hall, RAM Global chief operations officer.

“We have partnered with other companies to staff drive-through COVID-19 testing sites,” providing administrative, non-clinical volunteers, Hall said. “Currently, we have 20-plus sites open in 13 states that are doing free testing.

“The partners do ask questions — ‘Have you been in contact with anyone (who has COVID-19), are you experiencing symptoms’ — but if you just feel that you have COVID but could have COVID … if someone checks ‘yes,’ they are accepted (into the testing site), so technically, it is open to everyone,” he added.

If the answers are ‘no,’ Hall said the person “goes to a wait list because we are taking the higher priority cases first.”

Meanwhile, “all the dental clinics are shut down currently, and (we are) awaiting guidance for those to re-open,” he said. “When the system does re-open, there will be a back-log of dental patients who would have come to our clinics or who had appointments scheduled that had to be canceled.

“We’ll see a dental crisis for a little while until we can catch back up,” Hall added.

RAM was scheduled to benefit from the Southern Tequila and Taco Festival, organized by Abuelo’s Mexican Restaurant in Turkey Creek, on April 24, off Outlet Drive, but the event was cancelled because of the pandemic.

Founded by the late British philanthropist Stan Brock, known for his appearances on the TV show, “Wild Kingdom,” the international organization provides free dental, vision, medical and some veterinary care to under-served, uninsured individuals through mobile clinics.

“We are waiting just to see how the economy gets back open, as businesses open,” Hall said. “We are kind of monitoring it and monitoring mass gatherings.”

The event usually brings in about $80,000 each year, he noted.

“That’s our one fundraiser that we do each year,” he added. “It’s our largest fundraiser because it’s the only one we really do, so (canceling the event) definitely takes a hit on donations coming in.

“We definitely could use some support from the community to help keep the mission alive.”

To contribute to RAM, go online through its website at