Intermountain Healthcare adding testing services for people experiencing homelessness

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Oakland Homeless Covid-19

People are seen in a homeless encampment on Thursday, March 19, 2020, in Oakland, Calif. California Gov. Gavin Newsom has authorized $150 million in emergency funding to protect homeless people in California from the spread of COVID-19. $100 million will go to local governments for shelter support and emergency housing, while the remaining $50 million will be for purchasing travel trailers and lease rooms in hotels, motels and other facilities to provide places for the homeless to self-isolate. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Intermountain Healthcare announced Thursday afternoon that they are adding coronavirus testing services to those experiencing homelessness. This will come by way of increased testing, coordinating with local and community partners and helping to enhance the safety of the vulnerable population during the pandemic. This news come days after 94 coronavirus cases were confirmed at a local homeless resource center.

“We are all trying to adjust to our ‘new normal’ with COVID-19. This virus is adding layers of difficulty to the challenges those experiencing homelessness already face,” said Mikelle Moore, Intermountain Healthcare senior vice president and chief community health officer. “I am grateful for the many organizations, leaders, caregivers, and volunteers who have come together to support the health and well-being of some of our most vulnerable community members.”

Related: Utah organization provides essentials to homeless amid COVID-19 pandemic

Actions that Intermountain Healthcare is taking to support homeless individuals include:

  • Mobile Unit for coronavirus testing. Intermountain will be sending a mobile testing unit to local area homeless resource centers.
  • County Health Department Coordination. Intermountain is working with multiple county health departments to ensure homeless individuals transition to community isolation and quarantine if needed.
  • Medications. Intermountain will provide 14 days of medication for homeless patients after they are discharged from a hospital.
  • Equipment and Staffing Support for Community Partners. Intermountain caregivers and other community partners will provide nurses and medical assistants to work with the Salt Lake City’s 4th Street Clinic’s mobile clinic as it serves local homeless resource centers. Telehealth equipment will also be provided to centers.
  • Hospital Stays and Meals While Processing Tests. Homeless individuals need to have an isolated place to stay while waiting for their coronavirus test results to process. Intermountain will provide hospital waits to non-housed patients when they cannot be discharged to a quarantined or isolated area while waiting their test results. Free meals will also be provided while individuals are waiting for test results. Results can take between 24-72 hour to process.

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