Last year, Latino USA producers spent 72 hours at CommunityHealth, a free clinic in Chicago that’s run primarily by volunteers to serve people without health insurance, including many low-income and undocumented immigrants.
As the number of cases of COVID-19 rises rapidly, free health clinics are an important line of defense against the disease. The communities they serve, like older patients, patients with chronic conditions, and those who can’t afford to stay home from work, are particularly vulnerable to the disease. As the virus overwhelms the healthcare system, some clinics face shortages of supplies, or are struggling to stay open.
For this episode, we check back in with CommunityHealth to see how it’s been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. We speak with long-time patient Maria Magaña, who has been losing housecleaning work because of fear of the coronavirus spreading, and CommunityHealth’s CEO Stephanie Willding, who tells us about the operational challenges the clinic is now facing.
This story was produced by Alissa Escarce and JoAnn DeLuna.
NPR’s Latino USA with Maria Hinojosa, produced by Futuro Media, is the longest-running Latino-focused program on U.S. public media.
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