DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles Christian Health Centers sees patients right on the sidewalk in skid row. Some wait in tents.
Nurse practitioner Shannon Fernando is leading the nonprofit’s COVID-19 response team.
“It’s really all hands on deck for us,” said Fernando.
- Coronavirus Fears Grow Among Homeless as Number of Positive Tests Climbs
- LA to Transform Rec Centers Into Homeless Shelters Amid Pandemic
- North Westwood Neighborhood Council Shops for Homeless
They began testing for the virus March 17. Those who get tested must have moderate to severe symptoms and be unable self isolate because they don’t have a home.
Some are sent to the temporary housing at Dockweiler Beach, others go to local shelters and hotels. If they can’t find a place for patients to stay the clinic gives them tents.
“I think we’re all 100 percent in COVID-19. I don’t know what we were doing prior to COVID-19. That’s how much we’ve been in the good fight,” said Bettina Lewis, the chief operations officer for LACHC.
Out on the streets the nurses and doctors wear protective gear. They’re running low on masks.
“Our providers are scared as well. They’re out here treating the patients, testing the patients and there is a fear. Many of our providers have families that they go home to or they’re taking care of their sick and elderly parents,” said Lewis.
Dr. Lisa Abdishoo is the clinic’s president.
“Every day has been challenging and draining and has had so many emotional highs and lows,” said Abdishoo.
Abdishoo is the one looking at the clinic’s bottom line. People are staying home, which is the right move. This means though they aren’t seeing many of their regular and insured patients. That’s why private donations and the stimulus package are essential right now.
“It impacts us financially, but that seems like a small issue right now compared to the life or death ramifications,” said Abdishoo.
They won’t be able to go on forever like this, but each day could make a lifetime of difference.