CHS powers Mayo Clinic’s mobile COVID-19 testing

CHS delivers propane to heat health care workers at one of the Mayo Clinic’s drive-thru sites in Rochester, Minn.

Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., is the nation’s leading hospital, which makes it no surprise that the facility was one of the first in the state to set up mobile testing in March as the COVID-19 pandemic began its spread across the U.S.  

While health care workers began to mobilize and logistics were put together, Mayo Clinic’s main contractor, Benike Construction, reached out to the CHS facility in Rochester to help figure out how to use propane to get heat into the facilities. CHS was ready for the task.


CHS propane driver Dale Boelter makes a delivery to one of the Mayo Clinic’s COVID-19 mobile testing sites.

Answering the call was certified energy specialist Ken MacIver, who works to sell Cenex® products and propane to customers across the Rochester area. “There was certainly no textbook on how this would all work, so several entities were brought together, including our Country Operations location,” he says.

MacIver quickly began meeting at a six-foot distance in parking lots with Mayo Clinic compliance, Mayo Clinic health care departments, electricians and Benike Construction. “There was a lot of trial and error for procedures, systems and safety but the first mobile site got up and running the first weeks in March,” he says.

In the following weeks, more sites were put together resulting in a drive-thru clinic on each end of town and a walk-in clinic at the Mayo Clinic parking lot in downtown Rochester. To keep patients and health care workers at the drive-thru sites warm, three, 500-gallon propane tanks were hooked up to heaters. The walk-in clinic relies on two diesel generators for electricity and a 1,000-gallon propane tank hooked up to heaters.

“The entire CHS propane department in Rochester and our drivers were outstanding during this whole process,” says MacIver, who credits the entire team, but specifically propane manager Brian Crowson. “Changes were happening quickly, and Brian would put down other things he was working on to get to Mayo quickly if a change or fix was needed.”

CHS continues to fill the tanks while the heat is still needed. MacIver says the experience has been both gratifying and humbling. “It’s been an honor to represent CHS and the cooperative system alongside Mayo Clinic, a world-renowned health care organization that is working to make a positive impact on the community during these uncertain times.”

© 2020 CHS Inc.