In mid-March, Dr. Jim Bristow’s wife came down with gastrointestinal issues. Then, she couldn’t stop coughing.
Her symptoms pointed to coronavirus, but she couldn’t get tested — in part because of the nationwide test shortage, but also because the pair lived in Vashon, an idyllic town on an island in Washington State’s Puget Sound with scant medical resources. When Dr. Anthony S. Fauci of President Trump’s coronavirus task force said that the United States was failing with regards to testing, Dr. Bristow, said that it “really struck me.”
Dr. Bristow felt inspired to collaborate with other members in the Vashon community to develop a model to test, trace and isolate — in essence, a coronavirus response plan that they call the Rural Test & Trace Toolkit. Dr. Bristow, a retired cardiologist who was trained at the start of the AIDS epidemic, now believes that their model can be replicated,