Taking Steps to Stop the Spread of COVID-19: EBNHC Taking the Necessary Steps to Protect Our Community

Special to the Journal

As we face the public health crisis of COVID-19, know that Massachusetts is prepared. Our public health departments, world-class healthcare providers and institutions are experts in emergency preparedness and are trained for the possible emergence of diseases like this.

The East Boston Neighborhood Health Center (EBNHC) is working with local and national public health officials to ensure the safety of our staff, patients, and members of the communities we serve. Information is changing rapidly. To help protect you, EBNHC is partnering with Independent Newspaper Group and other media to share important information regularly. This content also appears at ebnhc.org/COVID19 and on our social media channels.

If you are an EBNHC patient and have fever and flu-like symptoms or have had a possible COVID-19 exposure, do not come to the health center. Instead, call the health center at 617-569-5800 for phone screening. If appropriate, you will be given instructions on how to get tested.

If you are not an EBNHC patient and are possibly sick from COVID-19, call your primary care provider. Patients who do not have a primary care provider should call the Mayor’s health line at 617-534-5050.

To ensure safety, EBNHC has asked all patients to reschedule routine visits. If you need an appointment for regular prenatal care, a chronic condition such as diabetes or behavioral health services, contact your provider directly. A telehealth program, which enables medical care over the phone while patients stay safe at home, has been implemented and is working well for patients and providers.

Additionally, we have made other proactive changes that impact patient care. Patients who must come to the Health Center for necessary appointments are now limited to one adult and one child per exam room. The EBNHC buildings at 79 Paris Street and Winthrop Neighborhood Health are both closed until further notice. These services have been temporarily moved to new treatment areas designed to reduce potential exposure. If you have questions about upcoming appointments and their locations, call 617-569-5800.

Many of EBNHC’s patients are at high risk for COVID-19. This includes adults ages 60 and above, medically fragile children in the CATCH program, asthma sufferers, pregnant women and other patients with chronic conditions and vulnerable groups.  Our focus is on protecting these high-risk patients and providing them with high-quality, critical care.

Help us protect yourself, your loved ones, and our whole community by:

• Staying six feet away from other people

• Avoiding large crowds and gatherings

• Practicing good hygiene such as washing your hands, using hand sanitizer, covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your inner elbow, and staying home if you are sick.

If your COVID-19 risks are higher due to age, underlying health conditions, a weakened immune system, or pregnancy:

• Stay home and avoid situations of potential exposure

• Do not travel

• Do not attend large gatherings

• Limit time spent in public areas

• Do not congregate in groups of more than 10 people

The EBNHC team is working tirelessly to protect our community. We care for all who need us, regardless of age, income, insurance status, language, culture or social circumstances. Our mission has not changed in 50 years and will guide us through this crisis.

Many of our team members are serving on the frontlines of patient care, risking their own health to treat those who need it. We have never been prouder of our team. But we cannot do it alone.

We all have a personal responsibility to protect ourselves and others. Practice social distancing and limit interactions with people who are at higher risk for COVID-19. We are a strong and responsive community. We will get through this crisis together.

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