One of Dorchester’s key health centers is bracing for disruption and testing for the COVID-19 virus this week. Michelle Nadow, CEO of DotHouse Health on Dorchester Avenue, told the Reporter on Tuesday that the facility will continue to see patients and provide assistance to people through its food pantry while the crisi unfolds.
“Our priority, as always, is to protect our staff and patients while continuing to provide high-quality health care,” said Nadow. “We have in place new screening protocols for everyone that comes through the front door so that we can navigate patients to the correct areas. We’ll be able to separate and mitigate any potential spread and also keep within social distancing requirements.”
The DotHouse food pantry will operate two days a week, Nadow said, but will re-route the operation to the side of the building so that people don’t have to enter the health center.
“We’ve also paused some of our community programs, including our tax clinic, swimming pool, gym, and teen center. This is also so that we can direct our staff to be in the places that they are needed.”
“Food security is critically important and at this time we are still committed to providing that,” said Nadow. “We will also use that alternate entrance for our Women, Infant & Children (WIC) services.”
DotHouse also has an urgent care center open to both patients and non-patients that provides testing for symptomatic patients.
“Urgent care here provides testing for symptomatic patients and those who have been in contact with someone who’s tested positive for COVID-19, or who’s had occupational or travel related health concerns,.” said Nadow.
DotHealth employees have reached out to patients with upcoming previously scheduled primary care appointments and determined the best fit on an individual basis going forward— offering phone and video calls to those with routine appointments.
“We’re currently not providing large scale tests of individuals without symptoms,” said Nadow.
“We’ve thought about this-- what to do if we get a rush of people. Fortunately we have a lot of space that we could utilize inside. In the past, when we’ve had a large number of flu patients, although that’s a different situation, we have used our gym and our large lobby as multi-purpose rooms for testing.”
“We are proud to be here for our community-- this is when our patients vitally need us,” said Nadow, “We’re trying to be very mindful about who needs to come into the building and this means we will have a decrease in patient visit numbers, which will inevitably result in a loss of revenue, and we have to try to plan for that.”
Visit DorchesterHouse.org or call 617-288-3230 for DotHouse Health.