The Providence Community Health Centers (PCHC) has partnered with Crossroad Rhode Island (RI) to provide COVID-19 testing for Rhode Island’s homeless population.

PROVIDENCE, RI – On Tuesday, PCHC completed a two-day effort to provide COVID-19 testing for the residents and staff of Crossroads RI. Over 125 tests were completed. Congregate living situations, such supportive housing, can increase the risk of spread of the virus. The PCHC and Crossroads RI teams educated residents on the importance of social-distancing, hand hygiene and prevention. In collaboration with the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) and other community partners, Crossroads RI assisted clients who tested positive with additional support, including relocation to one of the state’s designated COVID-19 shelter-in-place hotels.

“We are extremely grateful to PCHC and the RIDOH for helping us keep our vulnerable clients and residents safe,” said Karen A. Santilli, President & CEO of Crossroads RI. “This testing allowed us to quickly identify and quarantine the small number of clients and staff who tested positive for the virus, but who were asymptomatic. It wouldn’t have been possible without good planning and a bit of good luck. We will continue our efforts to implement safe practices and respond swiftly to every new case to avoid a widespread outbreak in our facilities.”

PCHC has received two Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grants to help increase community testing and cover some of the unexpected and unprecedented costs of the pandemic. PCHC has put the funding to good use by quickly implementing a Rapid Assessment Team to provide focused, in-person assessments for patients with respiratory symptoms. This outdoor tent allows providers to better manage at-risk patients and reduce the possible spread of illness within the clinics. PCHC launched the first drive-up and walk-up testing site in the state which accommodates people without access to a car. PCHC community health teams, in collaboration with the City of Providence and other agencies, provide and deliver meals to high-risk populations including the elderly and home bound. PCHC is also actively planning to launch its second COVID -19 testing site in the coming weeks to better serve the residents of Providence.

“Being able to keep our operations running is critical to the community’s well-being” said PCHC President & CEO, Merrill Thomas. “We’ve been able to continue to provide care to our patients using a combination of telemedicine and in-person visits and provide the much-needed COVID-19 testing. This helps prevent unnecessary emergency department visits and hospitalizations and supports the state in obtaining data to understand the overall virus spread rate”.

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PCHC feels privileged to provide health care and community supports to over 60,600 patients. Over 6,000 PCHC patients have been tested to date, with a 31% positive test rate. These patients represent 15% of the city’s positive cases.