City Heights Health Center Prepares To Help Patients Survive COVID-19 At Home
Wednesday, December 2, 2020
Photo by Guillermo Sevilla
The rise in COVID cases at La Maestra’s clinic on Fairmount Avenue has been dramatic. Last week, positive tests for COVID-19 were at 22%. The week before, it was an already high 11%. The number of individual positive results have more than doubled, and are continuing to trend way up.
Because the clinic has no inpatient service, medical professionals are preparing to help sick people survive the virus from home.
“We have a great case management program at La Maestra. Our case managers will call the patient, follow up with the patient, check in on them, and make sure they’re doing ok,” said Corinne Hanson, La Maestra’s development director.
If someone comes to the clinic who is already very sick, they’ll be rushed to a nearby hospital, but those are filling up as well. Rapid tests are available at the clinic, letting people know if they’re infected within hours. People can take the tests and receive some treatment in isolation tents outdoors.
Many immigrants in City Heights have had to continue working in dangerous conditions during the pandemic, giving the virus a chance to take hold during a second wave of infections that has devastated the nation.
Now, some supplies the clinic needs, like N-95 masks, are running out.
“If there are more and more patients, and we need to bring on more and more staff, then we could be pushed to the brink of our supplies,” Hanson said. “We always need more supplies for sure.”
In an unprecedented time, La Maestra wants to stress its doors are open, offering mobile appointments in its parking lot and also in buildings separate from where its treats COVID-19 patients. But medical professionals still say the safest thing to do to avoid getting sick is to just stay home.
But with household finances wrecked by the pandemic, a continuing affordability crisis, and federal aid stalled for months, not many people in this working-class neighborhood can afford to make that choice.
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