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White Bird Clinic Gets $100K To Develop COVID-19 Care Center For Unhoused

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Tiffany Eckert
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KLCC

White Bird Medical Clinic has partnered with Kaiser Permanente to develop a safe, COVID-19 screening and testing center for Lane County’s unhoused populations.

Advocates and public health officials acknowledge they so far haven’t seen the kinds of viral transmission and outbreaks they feared in the homeless community. 

One possible reason is that the life of an unhoused person often means being outdoors—which reduces risk. There is also less social contact—a personal safety strategy that ironically keeps homeless people safer during the pandemic. But White Bird’s Chris Hecht said there’s a downside.

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Credit Chris Hecht
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Chris Hecht is Medical Coordinator with White Bird Clinic in Eugene.

“The same social distancing can lead to social isolation which makes everything harder.”

As winter approaches, Kaiser Permanente’s $100,000 award will help White Bird construct a separate entrance to their Eugene clinic on Mill Street and add negative-pressure exam rooms for safe COVID-19 symptom monitoring.

Tiffany joined the KLCC News team in 2007. She studied journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked in a variety of media including television and daily print news. For KLCC, Tiffany reports on health care, social justice and local/regional news. She has won awards from Oregon Associated Press, PRNDI, and Education Writers Association.
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