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COVID-19 grant to help homeless, low-income populations get tested

March 25, 2020 | 12:10 am

Updated March 25, 2020 | 6:18 pm

Audubon Area Community Care Clinic (AACCC) is one of four businesses to receive a COVID-19 grant aimed to provide funding to local health centers during this global pandemic. AACCC was the recipient of a $51,029 grant that officials said will go toward providing personal protection equipment (PPE), ramped-up disinfectant measures and telehealth correspondence with those served through AACCC.

AACCC Director Samantha Taylor-Kaai said her agency provides outreach services to those who are homeless, low income or in a transient state of living. AACCC is a federally-qualified health center, which is why they were able to receive this grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

A formula based on the number of clients served per population was used in allocating the funds to different federally-qualified health centers in Kentucky’s 2nd District. Taylor-Kaai said AACCC serves enough people in the Daviess County community to meet the formula’s criteria.

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“In 2018, we had a high number of patients per our total population,” she said. “Before COVID-19 even hit here, we were brainstorming, ‘How are we going to reach these vulnerable populations?’”

COVID-19 spreads rapidly, but even more so inside the walls of a homeless shelter, where dozens of people are grouped together, she said. Those individuals need access to medical care and COVID-19 testing kits just as desperately, if not more so, than everyone else.

This $51,000 grant will provide AACCC with more PPE, including surgical masks, gloves, goggles and gowns, but that’s only a small piece of what Taylor-Kaai and her team are planning to use the funds for.

“The problem is the low availability of PPE,” she said. “Luckily, the health department and Daviess County Emergency Management Agency have been able to supply us with PPE from the national stockpile, so that’s been super helpful.”

The COVID-19 grant will also be used to ramp up disinfectant protocols. Though normal procedures and policies are in place at AACCC, Taylor-Kaai said their lobby, door handles, elevator and examination rooms will be sanitized more frequently via spraying and wiping methods.

Most importantly, Taylor-Kaai said, this grant allows AACCC to utilize telehealth screenings with Daviess County’s most vulnerable. These screenings can be done via video or phone, she said.

“Patients don’t have to get out or come inside. We can pre-screen clients over video or the phone to try to prevent that patient from spreading COVID-19 further,” she said. “If we identify a patient who needs testing, they will come to our facility to have the test done.”

Right now, AACCC has enough COVID-19 testing kits for Daviess County’s most vulnerable populations, Taylor-Kaai said. So far, three people have been tested, and all have received a negative result.

Telehealth screening for the homeless, transient and low-income populations will begin Wednesday.

“We’re really trying to get more education into the hands of shelters directly,” she added. “We’re working to keep them updated as this situation unfolds.”

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The Owensboro Health coronavirus hotline is available 24/7 by calling 877-888-6647. Call the hotline before seeking in-person care. More information from OH can be found here.

For the latest information and data on COVID-19 in Kentucky visit kycovid19.ky.gov or dial the Kentucky state hotline at 800-722-5725.

For the latest health guidelines and resources from the CDC, visit their website here.

March 25, 2020 | 12:10 am

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