Quicken Loans Inc. on Monday said it is extending through the end of May operations at its call center where it schedules COVID-19 tests at the former Michigan State Fairgrounds in Detroit.
The fairgrounds is Metro Detroit’s drive-up hub for coronavirus testing, which experts have said is an important instrument to reopening the economy. The call center has scheduled more than 20,000 tests since mid-March. Of the 16,862 tests that have returned results as of Monday, 4,114 were positive.
“It’s not only helping someone recognize that they are ill and being able to quarantine and keep them safe,” Quicken CEO Jay Farner told The Detroit News. “It’s how can we help the city of Detroit get back to work? The faster we are diagnosing people who are ill, the fewer who will be dropping dead, and the sooner we can get people back to work and returning to their families.”
Quicken’s sister company, Rock Connections, operates the call center with 40 full-time employees 10 hours per day, seven days per week. The contributions represent an in-kind donation of more than $700,000, the companies said.
At a news conference Monday, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said Quicken founder Dan Gilbert “is going to end up basically donating $1 million of staff time running this call center for us. We’re deeply appreciative.”
Detroit received another shipment of 20,000 test kits, Duggan said, even as some other cities struggle to obtain them. A doctor’s referral is needed to schedule an appointment, or the city of Detroit is offering free testing to essential workers in the city. Employers can call (313) 230-0505 to obtain a code to share with their employees to do so. Patients receive results on average within five days.
Quicken and Rock Connections developed the technology and platforms used to schedule appointments and manage the testing center, including communicating test results to doctors and patients. The companies will share for free that software and its implementation materials for free for other communities to use.
The software the company has developed also is able to prioritize testing for first responders, health-care workers and government employees. Nearly 1,500 city of Detroit, Wayne County, state and federal workers have received priority testing, Quicken said.
Additionally, Quicken and its family of companies also have contributed more than $5 million to support local COVID-19 relief efforts. Its real-estate affiliate, Bedrock Inc., also has offered rent forgiveness to many small businesses and restaurants downtown.