Special to the Independent
Our community’s strength is on full display despite the extraordinary challenges of the COVID-19 crisis. Public health agencies, elected officials, health care providers and community leaders are collaborating in new ways to protect our neighborhoods. Most community members are taking social distancing seriously and continue to do their part to protect themselves and others. Local businesses and individuals are stepping up to help however they can.
The East Boston Neighborhood Health Center (EBNHC) is proud to see our community in action. We were grateful to receive donations of personal protective equipment (PPE) for our providers from individuals as well as businesses, in addition to thoughtful pizza deliveries for our hard-working staff. The appreciation and encouragement expressed by community members goes a long way and we thank you.
Patients and providers at EBNHC are adapting well to our telehealth program, which enables medical care over the phone so patients can stay safe at home. Last week we provided 1,741 telemedicine visits with 455 occurring on our busiest day. Video conferencing will be available soon. Everyone is learning new ways to get their jobs done, stay connected and care for their patients. Across the board, people are being flexible, patient and understanding. All of this makes our challenges easier to address.
EBNHC is also proud to partner with the City of Boston and Boston Public Health Commission to offer COVID-19 testing to first responders at Suffolk Downs. The drive-thru testing site, which opened this past Saturday, is open by appointment only to qualified EMTs, firefighters and police officers who have first been screened to ensure they meet the state criteria for testing. The site is not open to the public.
“Working closely with Mayor Walsh and the Boston Public Health Commission, the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center is honored to come to the aid of the city and our first responders,” said Manny Lopes, President and CEO, EBNHC. “We have been here for Boston for 50 years, and our staff continues to show their commitment to our city and local communities in the face of this terrible crisis. Thank you to our partners at the City of Boston, the Boston Public Health Commission, HYM Investment Group and Suffolk Downs, Quest Diagnostics and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts for their support mobilizing around the testing center so rapidly.”
Our community’s unity, strength, grit and resources are assets for which we can all be grateful and proud. For as long as it takes, EBNHC will continue working with local and national public health officials to ensure the safety of our staff, patients and members of the communities we serve. To help protect you, EBNHC has partnered with Independent Newspaper Group and other media to share important information regularly. This content and other health information also appears at ebnhc.org/COVID19 and on our social media channels.