Boston Mayor Walsh calls Whittier Street testing "instrumental in Boston's fight against COVID-19"
BOSTON, July 20, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Acting as a safety net for Boston's low-income neighborhoods susceptible to COVID-19, Whittier Street Health Center (WSHC) passed a milestone when the 5,000th person received a free COVID-19 test from the nonprofit's testing program, which began April 13. The 5,000th person was tested last week when the Whittier Mobile Health Van visited the New Franklin Park Apartments in the Boston neighborhood of Dorchester.
"Our black and brown communities have been most vulnerable to COVID-19, so we're making sure anyone who wants to get tested can," said Frederica M. Williams, president and CEO of WSHC. "We're doing it by removing the barriers people may have to testing by going where they are."
During a time when COVID-19 tests are difficult to come by, the free tests administered at the WSHC and through its Mobile Health Van have been a popular and critically-needed service in low-income communities that have experienced high rates of infection.
"Partners like WSHC are instrumental in Boston's fight against COVID-19," said Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh. "Removing barriers to testing helps people get the care they need and avoid passing the virus on to others. Public health models tell us that the more testing we can do, the more we can reduce our positive infection rate, giving us the data and confidence we need to move forward safely."
While the demand for testing is high, lack of access to transportation, social isolation and fear of COVID-19 has meant many diverse communities are not being tested, which is why the Mobile Health Van has been a lifeline in providing necessary testing and contact tracing to help contain the spread.
"We're looking at the hotspots where people are at risk along with the demographics – age, race and ethnicity," said Williams, a member of the Mayor's Health Inequities Task Force focused on Boston's COVID-19 response. "We're being aggressive about it. The virus has no mercy and we're doing everything we can to keep everyone safe. Until this virus is stricken, we'll keep at it."
Whittier Street Health Center is a Boston-based, independently licensed community healthcare center with a mission of providing high-quality, reliable and accessible primary healthcare for diverse populations while promoting wellness and eliminating health/social disparities. Whittier is accredited by The Joint Commission, certified by the National Committee for Quality Assurance as a Patient-Centered Medical Home, and recognized by the NCQA for its Behavioral Health Integration. Through its two locations in Roxbury and North Dorchester, and its Mobile Health Van program, Whittier serves nearly 30,000 patients and 20,000 community outreach visits annually; its ethnically and racially diverse patient base, 36% of whom are uninsured. Whittier provides a comprehensive array of 40 healthcare programs and services designed to meet the primary health care, behavioral health, and social needs of the community. www.wshc.org
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SOURCE Whittier Street Health Center