NAPLES, Fla. (Sept. 23, 2020) – Healthcare Network has deployed a new COVID-19 Response Team allowing the organization to expand its existing COVID-19 programs to include increased testing, education and community outreach. This critical response team was made possible through a federal grant awarded by Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA).
Focusing on underserved populations throughout Collier County, the team is strategically and collaboratively working with several local organizations including the Department of Health, Coalition of Immokalee Workers and FSU College of Medicine to slow the spread of the virus and educate at-risk residents on health and safety precautions.
“Health disparities exist during normal times, and with the pandemic, these inequities have only compounded placing many of our neighbors at increased risk for COVID-19,” said Julie Pedretti, COVID-19 community relations director for Healthcare Network. “Community outreach to dispel myths and address economic, language, cultural and literacy barriers that prevent people from understanding the highly infectious nature of the virus is critical to keeping everyone in our community healthy.”
To overcome these barriers, Healthcare Network’s response team is employing several tactics including door-to-door outreach where they provide culturally appropriate educational materials and messaging to encourage mask wearing, proper hand hygiene, physical distancing and staying home when sick. When identified, the group is also helping families connect with local resources for physical and mental health, food, and housing assistance.
Because the risk from the virus remains serious and testing is critical to reducing the spread, the COVID-19 team is continuing to organize community drive-thru testing events as well as schedule pop-up testing, where needed. Currently, the team is in Immokalee helping address the unique needs of returning migrant workers, providing educational resources and distributing face masks.
Additionally, the multilingual team consisting of registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, medical assistants and individuals with experience in public health and health education is managing Healthcare Network’s new COVID-19 Resource Line. Through the resource line, team members will answer questions from community members concerning the virus and provide callers with further information on local resources and testing locations. The COVID-19 Resource Line is available by phone at 239.675.7080 or by email at HCNCOVID@HealthcareSWFL.org.
Sep 23, 2020 | COVID-19