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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT)– Angel Flight Soars volunteer pilots took off on Monday to help with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pilots are helping deliver COVID-19 tests from Medical Center, Navicent Health to laboratories in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Nashville, Tennessee.
Micheal Hajworonsky, the Vice President of Clinical Support Services for Navicent Health, says the new partnership will help more than just hospital staff.
Hajworonsky said, “Our patients are what it’s all about. We’re in this together, and this is a way to really get those results quicker and let patients know.”
Traveling by plane allows COVID-19 tests to reach labs in two hours, rather than the five or six hours it takes if traveling by vehicle.
Angel Flight Soars typically transports patients and helps with organ transit as well. However, in times of disaster, pilots use their planes to move critical supplies and personnel equipment.
Since the start of the pandemic, Angel Flight has been working with FEMA, GEMA and the Red Cross to support COVID-19 relief efforts. John Alston, chairman and volunteer pilot for Angel Flight, says he’s honored to be a part of the pandemic relief effort.
Alston stated, “Being able to move medical specimens and being able to reduce the time that they receive results by 50% is very important. Of course, Angel flight has been doing this for 37 years. And where we typically move patients, in times of need like this — a different need can be filled.”
Each delivery is a nasal pathogen test. The kits have all been individually sealed and placed inside a triple-sealed medical cooler — to protect the pilots and the labs receiving the tests.
Angel Flights and Navicent Health both believe this new partnership could speed up the testing process. It also allows more tests to be performed at a faster pace.