Coronavirus & Free Clinics
Playing an Important Role
As the coronavirus pandemic sweeps across the country, Virginia, of course, is not immune. The Commonwealth has experienced steady growth in the number of confirmed cases as well as commensurate increases in the number of deaths attributed to COVID-19. As is so often the case during a widespread health crisis, Virginia’s network of 60 free and charitable clinics are operating on the front lines, serving tens of thousands of Virginians who are uninsured or underinsured, and yet earn too much to qualify for expanded Medicaid services.
Remaining Open and Serving Patients
By and large, free clinics are remaining open, doing their part to flatten the curve by avoiding unnecessary emergency department visits and keeping those that don’t need to be at hospitals out of them. Open looks different as a result of precautions implemented in response to COVID-19, but open and there to serve uninsured and underinsured working families and individuals remain healthy and avoid healthcare crises.
View Clinics in Virginia - we are doing our best to update information on clinic services and operations as they change in the coming days and weeks.
Flattening the Curve
Virginia’s free and charitable clinics are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic with high levels of commitment, flexibility and innovation. The dedicated staff and medical volunteers that comprise clinic personnel are taking prudent measures to be able to continue providing ongoing, routine and preventative healthcare to their current and future patients.
To provide critical healthcare services to underserved populations across the state -- populations that will be particularly hard hit and even more isolated as the virus spreads -- free clinics are proactively adapting their delivery models and implementing protocols that protect patients, staff, and volunteers. They’re also serving as trusted public health resources educating the hardest to reach individuals and families with the information they need to protect themselves and others.
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Facing Significant Challenges
Free and charitable clinics across the state are facing the immediate threat of a pandemic that is likely to hit their patients — the low-income, uninsured and chronically ill — particularly hard. Significant challenges include lack of availability of COVID-19 testing in the community, shortages in clinic staff and volunteers; shortages in personal protective equipment, decreases in financial gifts and canceled fundraisers as well as unexpected costs. All of this with the prospect of increased demand for their services as the economy weakens and people lose their jobs (unemployment rose 1,500% in March). Despite all this, they are demonstrating unwavering commitment to their patients as they tend to the health needs of ten thousands of underserved Virginians.
The VAFCC continues to monitor the latest updates and provides resources that support Virginia's free clinics through this unprecedented time -- initiating key conversations with statewide and national partners. We're also working on providing key resources, funding (donate now) and filling the void of lost volunteers due to university and college clousures and healthcare retirees self-isolation (volunteer now).
What are Symptoms of Coronavirus?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness. The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure:
- Shortness of breath
What Can You do to Reduce Your Risk of Getting Coronavirus?Follow CDC guidelines for prevention, which include:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Stay home when you are sick
- Cover your cough