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Jeanie, Nurse Practitioner, Transitions to Wellness

I work with people experiencing homelessness. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, many of our clients are having a difficult time fulfilling their basic needs because many businesses are closed. Many specialty offices including NEVHC have converted visits to telehealth, which is difficult for these individuals whose phones may not be charged or who simply do not have a telephone. At the Transitions to Wellness clinic sites, we are still seeing patients either over the phone or in the clinic, if medically necessary. Many of our patients are experiencing increased anxiety, and for that I have been referring them to a therapist. To meet the needs of this vulnerable population, I have continued to go out to encampments and follow up with individuals by educating them on the signs and symptoms of COVID-19, informing them to self-isolate in a tent if possible and directing patients who may be symptomatic or in contact with someone with COVID-19 to a quarantine site. I have been going out with community partner staff to provide individuals with resources on where they can shower and get food. In encampments where we find multiple symptomatic patients, we coordinate to test the entire...

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Michael, Behavioral Health Provider

I've seen patients along a whole spectrum, from those who are homeless to those who have been housed. We continue to see patients at Transitions to Wellness even if they become housed in order to create stability and a continuity of care. COVID-19 is creating lots of unemployment, a lot of financial distress. Many patients I have worked with have had something equivalent to the virus happen to them already, in terms of severity and upheaval. So there is a lot of anxiety right now, among patients and among my colleagues as well. A couple of weeks ago one of my colleagues went out to test a patient who was symptomatic. This patient tested positive and died two days later. It was a sad turn of...

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Olga, Consumer Relations Coordinator

Early in March, Mission College Student Health Center had a patient walk in after visiting the hospital over the weekend for cold/flu like symptoms. The patient had been advised to stay home, but she was very concerned that she had COVID-19. The patient had a question for the business office, and I assisted her. She wore a surgical mask but, while she sat one step away from me, she started having a cough attack. That's when I realized how easily I could be exposedto whatever was causing her symptoms. After her visit, she contacted us to let us know that a friend she had hung out with was experiencing similar symptoms, was given instructions to quarantine and was referred to test for COVID-19. That's when it hit me! This was how the virus was being spread. I remember calling my husband before I arrived home that day to leave the back door open and have Clorox wipes and Lysol...

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Nicole, Physician Assistant

It started out with doing assessments in patient cars in order to limit exposure and accommodate our need for additional personal protective equipment (PPE). Then, we decided to pilot a drive-thru test site. For me, I'm comfortable working at a drive-thru test site because I'm younger, I don't have children and there is less risk if I contract the disease. More importantly, it would be a disservice not to help the people who come to these test sites. It is definitely a priority to screen our patients and educate them about the disease. We get a lot of phone calls from patients who don't know much about the virus or how it's spread, and these are people who are still going to work. They don't have the option...

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Llanet, Registration Clerk

My son has been a straight-A student since I can remember. His success in school made me so proud and made me try to work harder to give him everything I couldn’t have as a child. Which included access to a computer and internet, participation in all school events, volunteering as much as possible and just always being there for him. He is now a high school senior. The year that he had been waiting for to make me even more proud was here, and he was so happy and excited. This was where it all changed. As we were enjoying senior events, planning graduationand having received several acceptance letters from different universities, the COVID-19 pandemic started. Class of 2020 doesn’t mean what it used to now. Now, his prom, graduation, and all other senior events are cancelled until further notice. I wanted him to experience all...

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Joy, Director of the WIC Program

Due to COVID-19, NEVHC WIC offices closed their doors to the public on March 23. This decision was necessary to flatten the curve and to protect the health of staff and clients, but it created a challenge for us to provide food benefits to over 34,000 participants! Luckily, the State WIC office lifted some restrictions and allowed some flexibilities so that we could provide WIC services remotely. We posted a sign on the door and asked our families to contact us by phone, text or email.  At the time of closure, our agency had already switched over 2/3 of our clients to the new WIC card. For the other 1/3 who still needed a card, this was a challenge. After making contact with these clients...

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Dr. Mary Wakim

In this Story from the Front Line, Dr. Teda Arunrut tells us about the inspirational Dr. Wakim.   Every morning, I go to work earlier than usual to disinfect my work area and huddle with my team. We discuss how to best to care for our children and families safely in light of the latest guidelines for the day. While feelings of anxiety and uncertainty often linger in me, my fellow pediatrician and immunology specialist Dr. Mary Wakim never ceases to be a source of inspiration. A pediatrician, humanist and scientist, Dr. Wakim comes ready to tackle the day with gusto. While she is aware of the risks that healthcare workers face, Dr. Wakim's compassion never waivers. She views each patient encounter as the chance to heal, to treat the body as well as the mind and spirit. Dr. Wakim provides guidance to...

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Cristina, Registered Nurse

One of the challenges during this pandemic is trying to take a holistic approach to care. Some of our most vulnerable community members are being impacted. NEVHC is not only a health care provider but also a source of information for these patients, connecting them to resources that address not only their physical health but also factors like their mental wellbeing and food security.   We've been doing drive-thru testing for about two or three weeks, but, before that started, we were seeing patients in their cars starting in March. One of our first patients that we did a car assessment for came in with all the symptoms of COVID-19, and she had her partner and children all with her in her car. It turned out that she could not self-isolate because they were living out of their car. We knew that the coronavirus test wasn't going to be...

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Brenda, Program Manager for Emergency Management and the Corporate Safety Officer

As the Program Manager for Emergency Management and the Corporate Safety Officer for NEVHC, my role is to ensure that we have plans in place to respond to emergencies and make sure that all staff, patients and visitors are safe. The biggest challenge with COVID-19 is that everything was so new. We had plans in place for infectious disease outbreak, however COVID-19 was much more complex and not something that we could have 100% been prepared for. In the beginning, the guidelines were changing daily, and it was difficult to really have a solid plan in place to respond to COVD-19. After working with other amazing staff members, we were able to provide guidelines to staff to respond.  From the safety perspective, in the beginning, finding appropriate...

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