Tag: Coronavirus

COVID-19 Community Testing Sites

This Week

Norris Square Community Alliance 

174 Diamond Street 
Philadelphia, PA 19122
Wednesday, September 16, 2020, from 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Francis Scott Key School with SEAMAAC

2230 South 8th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19148
Thursday, September 17, 2020, from 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Ford PAL Recreation Center

609 Snyder Avnue
Philadelphia, PA 19148
Friday, September 18, 2020, from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

FIGHT COVID-19 Community Testing Phone Number: 267-436-3126.


COVID-19 community testing sites - images

Check back for dates and times for other locations

Face to Face

123 Price Street
Philadelphia, PA 19144

Mifflin Square Park

500 Wolf Street
Philadelphia, PA 19148

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#mindPHL Together: A Statement from Mayor Jim Kenney

office of the mayor of Philadephia
A Statement from Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney

Fellow Philadelphians:

If you’re feeling anxious or depressed during this unprecedented time, you’re not alone. These feelings can be heightened by illness, isolation, job loss, and uncertainty.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. The City of Philadelphia and Independence Blue Cross are teaming up to help Philadelphians check in with themselves and others. Taking care of our mental well-being is more important than ever.

Go to mindPHLtogether.com to find mental health resources that can help you and your family. Your healthcare provider can also help you get the care you need.

Now more than ever, we have a responsibility to take care of each other. We all can fight stigma and educate and inspire others. So check in with friends and family, and access mental health resources if you need them.

Let’s take care of our mental health—together.

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Philadelphia’s COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program

Have you lost income because of COVID-19? Are you having trouble paying your rent? The City of Philadelphia might be able to help.

Philadelphia is launching a COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program.  This program aims to help people who have lost income because of COVID-19 pay their rent. It makes payments directly to your landlord.

Eligibility

You can see if you are eligible on the Apply  page. You can also see what documents you will need to provide.

The City will begin accepting applications for the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program on Tuesday, May 12, 2020 at 10 a.m. The deadline to apply is Saturday, May 16, 2020 at 5 p.m.

Funding is limited. Not every applicant will receive assistance.

All selected tenants will receive rent assistance for up to three consecutive months for up to $2,500 total. If funding permits we will try to provide ongoing assistance for up to a year for renters who still need help after three months.

Your situation will be re-evaluated every three months. Depending on your situation you may receive emergency rental assistance for three months, six months, nine months or one year. Assistance is limited to $2,500 per three-month period.

To apply, visit phlrentassist.org.


If you would like to Donate to the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program, thank you! Your donation will help Philadelphians remain in their homes and prevent homelessness.

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Health Fact Friday: 6 Tips for Safe Grocery Shopping

6 Steps for Safe Grocery Story Shopping
Visit NPR for a Video

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National Institutes of Health Panel Issues New Guidelines

A National Institutes of Health panel has released new guidelines on treating patients with COVID-19. Here are some of the highlights:

  • The panel does not recommend any drug for pre- or post-exposure prophylaxis outside of clinical trials.
  • It does not make a recommendation for specific antiviral or immunomodulatory treatments, as no drug has been proven to be safe and effective. The panel does provide rationale for use of certain therapies under investigation, as well as a summary of studies on these treatments.
  • It comes out against use of hydroxychloroquine plus azithromycin outside of clinical trials because of the toxicity risk, as well as against lopinavir/ritonavir or other HIV protease inhibitors because of negative clinical trial results and unfavorable pharmacodynamics. The panel also recommends against interferons and Janus kinase inhibitors.
  • The group recommends against use of systemic corticosteroids for mechanically ventilated adults with COVID-19 who don’t have acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).
  • It prefers low-dose corticosteroids over no corticosteroids in patients with refractory shock.

The full text of the guidelines, with additional recommendations, is available at https://covid19treatmentguidelines.nih.gov/.

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Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) FAQs

This page explains Pennsylvania’s CARES Act  Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Plan (PUA).  The PUA expands who is eligible for unemployment during the COVID epidemic. 

It includes gig workers, independent contractors, people who have exhausted regular benefits, and people who have not worked long enough to get regular unemployment. This is a separate state unemployment program and you may be eligible.       

Visit the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) FAQs here

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Masks: What to do?

Types of Masks

N95 Respirator

for health care providers working directly with sick people

This specialized mask should be reserved for people in direct contact with people confirmed to have COVID-19 and are in the hospital. N95 respirators are fit to have a tight seal, and should be reserved for health professionals

Surgical Mask

for people working in a health care or emergency responder setting 

Though not a tight-fitting as an N95 respirator, surgical masks can help filter particles out of the air. Meant to be one-use only, these masks should be reserved for health care professionals who are more exposed to the COVID-19 virus at work

image of face masks for coronavirus

The CDC now recommends wearing a face covering when outside the home. Cloth face coverings are not substitutes for surgical masks, which are in short supply, but may help prevent community spread.

Some Tips

  • Wash with soap and water after use
  • Wash hands before and after putting mask on and off
  • Use more than one layer of fabric

For more information, visit the CDC website.

Masks Face Coverings for COVID-19 infograph
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A Message from the Chief Executive Officer

We will not abandon our patients.

We are living in scary times, and right now it seems like COVID-19 has the upper hand.  We at FIGHT are currently grappling with how to best serve our patients, protect our staff, and contribute in meaningful ways to the resolution of the crisis caused by the COVID-19 epidemic.  We think we have a pretty good plan, which you can see below in this message.  

But first I want to remind you that we were made for times like these.

Philadelphia FIGHT was founded in an epidemic.  We learned then what it was like to be faced with a seemingly uniformly fatal disease that we knew little about, hitting marginalized groups of people – gay men,  African American and Hispanic people, IV drug users, and low-income women – and we faced an epidemic where there was no treatment, no services, and most strikingly, no assistance whatsoever from the Federal government. Many if not most of the people who came forward either knew at the time they were infected or feared that they were or would be.  Yet into that void walked huge numbers of activists, doctors, families, and friends who cared for dying people before we knew how HIV was spread, often when they knew they could be next,  and before they knew for sure how to avoid compromising their own personal safety.  For well over a decade these activists and healthcare professionals worked,  sometimes together, and sometimes in opposition but with mutual respect, to discover, develop and test drugs, to gain government resources, to pass legislation like the Ryan White CARE Act, and in the end, to be part of a solution that has saved millions of lives around the globe.  This is our heritage at FIGHT.

While we no longer exclusively serve people with HIV, we have retained our historic commitment to the marginalized, the stigmatized, and those who lack the resources to weather events such as we are seeing now. 

Now, faced with a different epidemic, where the risks are not entirely known, and where the government’s response has fallen far short of the need, we are faced with a clear choice.  We know that marginalized communities like those we serve tend to do the worst in any epidemic.  We know that this epidemic spreads more quickly in overcrowded situations like homeless shelters or congregate housing that many of our guests and participants utilize on a daily basis.  We know there is virtually no plan to care for the people most without resources in the city.

We also know that our patients, including those with more resources, need our continuing care. We know that as some of our population ages they are also living with other health challenges – cancer, heart disease, arthritis, and others – where we coordinate their care in an environment where they feel respected and safe.   We know that we are an important lifeline for many people, and not just in our clinical spaces.   The community we have built here sustains and nurtures many people and they do not want to lose the anchor it provides.  The most important lifesaving service we offer is, of course, our health centers.  The Lax Center, John Bell Health Center, Clinica Bienestar  FIGHT at Broad St. Ministry,  YHEP, Pediatrics, and Family Dental along with TREE and Diana Baldwin, offer our patients extraordinary care in a manner that respects their dignity as individuals and often can contribute to changing their lives.  When a true crisis, like the COVID-19 epidemic hits,  it is vital to our patients that we be able to communicate with them, see them if needed, and direct their care.  

Our choice is we will not abandon our patients. 


Right now, our health centers are open but with some important operational changes.

Here is the most important information, and please pay attention: 

First, none of our health centers will see anyone who has not called in advance.

There will be no walk-ins whatsoever.  If you want to come in for a visit you need to call.  

An important additional reason to call is we may be able to manage your situation on the phone.  As an example, call us if you need to get your medicines delivered to you.  We want to help you avoid crowds at the drugstore as much as you want to avoid them.  

I wish this was not the case, but, we really mean it about no walk-ins.  If somebody just shows up they will not be allowed in.  If we do not do this, we will be putting everyone in danger, including other patients who need help, as well as medical staff.

Second, no new patients will be accepted.  You must be an existing patient.

Third, without our permission, some websites have listed us as a COVID-19 testing site.  We are not a testing site.

We are testing our existing patients when we can get tests, but no one else. Tests are only just beginning to be available, and there are not nearly enough to go around. 


Here are the details about our Health Centers and how we are reorganizing:

  • The John Bell Health Center is operational but open only to see patients who do not have respiratory complaints. 
  • The Lax Center is operational but open only to see patients who do have respiratory complaints. 
    • We will divert some Lax patients to John Bell, and some Bell patients to Lax when they call us.
  • Pediatrics is operational but open only to see patients who have called ahead of time. 
  • YHEP and Broad Street Ministry will remain closed, and staff, as well as patients, will be diverted to John Bell Health Center.
  • Dental,  Diana Baldwin and TREE will remain closed to in-person patient visits but will manage patients by phone.

At this time the following is the status of some of our other services:

  • Diana Baldwin and TREE:  Operational but with telephone contact only
  • Critical Path Learning Center:  Closed
  • TEACH: Classes are canceled
  • CHTA: Operates online. Webinar today!
  • ICJ:  Open Mon-Thurs, closed on Fridays,  with a modified staffing plan
  • CTRN:  AACO has directed us to stop testing

All public programs sponsored by FIGHT:  canceled until it is safe to reschedule them.

Finally, to be very clear.  This is a rapidly changing situation.  Events beyond our control could overtake us – for example if we cannot get enough protective equipment to protect staff and patients or some new government regulation that requires us to close. But what will not change is our commitment to our patients, and our intent to remain open if we possibly can.  Even if external events do force us to close, we will be available by phone and on the Internet.  

Please take care of yourselves.  Pay attention to public recommendations and requirements. Review what is elsewhere on this website 

Stay home if you can.   But remember we will be here, in person unless we absolutely cannot be – and we are now – and always available by phone.

Important Phone Numbers

Important Updates

See the Latest Information from FIGHT

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Spotlight On

Karam Mounzer, MD

Dr. Mounzer identified two major gaps in the care of patients with HIV/hepatitis C (HCV) co-infection, and the complexity of multidrug-resistant HIV treatment. He is involved with many clinical trials focusing on drug development and better understanding of HIV immunopathogenesis with the Wistar Institute. He is involved in teaching and mentoring.

Learn More about Spotlight On
Dr. Karam Mounzer

Dr. Mario Cruz

Dr. Mario CruzDr. Cruz is a board certified pediatrician who serves as the Medical Director for our Pediatrics and Adolescent Health Center. He has presented and/or published in the fields of community violence and domestic violence prevention, quality improvement, behavioral health, curriculum development and mentorship. In 2019 he received the Greater Philadelphia Social Innovation Award for Innovations in Healthcare.


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