Plan targets populations and communities disproportionately affected by pandemic
Aunt Martha’s today opened the first of its six COVID-19 testing sites. The agency, which operates 23 Federally Qualified Health Center locations in nine counties, was tapped by Governor Pritzker to help move the state toward its goal of providing 10,000 COVID-19 tests per day.
“We felt it was important for the plan we shared with the Governor’s office to take advantage of the broad geographic scope and the diversity of the people and communities Aunt Martha’s serves,” said Raul Garza, the agency’s President and Chief Executive Officer.
“We understand the disproportionate impact the coronavirus is having in communities that are predominantly African American and Latino. It was important to us to reach those groups, including many of our own, dedicated staff who are on the front lines of the COVID-19 fight.”
Aunt Martha’s six testing sites – located in Chicago (Bronzeville), Chicago Heights, Danville, Harvey, Joliet and Kankakee – will initially provide tests to high-risk patients with symptoms of COVID-19. Testing is available according to the guidelines set forth by the Illinois Department of Public Health and is expected to be expanded to additional groups as more supplies are made available.
“Aunt Martha’s is proud to be a part of this monumental effort. With a drive-through testing format, we believe we can help flatten the curve while at the same time taking another important step to minimize the risk of exposure to our patients and employees,” said Garza.
Aunt Martha’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has leveraged its resources to protect its front line staff, which includes not only its health center workers but also those providing care in shelter settings, foster homes and responding to the needs of families in crisis. It has launched a statewide campaign to secure the supplies and personal protective equipment necessary to keep workers safe.
The agency was among the first to advocate for and bring online an expanded system of telehealth services, which have provided close to 3,000 encounters in under four weeks. All of its locations are regularly decontaminated, including disinfectant fogging and hospital-grade deep cleaning. Curbside check-in is now available at most of the agency’s health centers.
For more information about COVID-19 testing at Aunt Martha’s, visit www.auntmarthas.org. To verify testing eligibility and schedule an appointment, call (877) 692-8686.