Tag: COVID-19

COVID Vaccines Beginning to Roll Out

COVID Vaccines are here and are beginning to roll out!  At this time only essential healthcare workers have access to vaccines in Philadelphia.  This is due to decisions made at the national level to limit the numbers of doses released and sent to the states.  Pennsylvania, and Philadelphia, have chosen to use the limited doses they have for direct service healthcare workers, including in hospitals, health centers, nursing homes, etc.  However, keep in mind that after January 20 a new plan will be in place.  While the order of who will get vaccines may not change, the amount of time to move through the various groups who are eligible may speed up,  and when it does,  FIGHT will be ready to vaccinate our patients.  

We have gathered some materials which you can learn more about COVID vaccines.  

  1. All Health Centers Case Conference: Multi-Discipline [Access Passcode: VACCINE#1]
  2. HHS Announces $22 Billion in Funding to Support Expanded Testing, Vaccination Distribution
  3. Understanding COVID Vaccines and How They Work
  4.  Vaccine Myths and Facts from the Mayo Clinic
  5. Coverage of Biden’s Vaccine Plan
    1. With virus surging, Biden to Speed Release of COVID vaccines
    2. Biden Plans to Release Nearly All Available Covid-19 Vaccine Doses
    3. Biden Details COVID Response Plan 
  6. People with HIV and Vaccines 
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COVID-19 Community Testing Sites Schedule

Visit the FIGHT COVID-19 Community Testing Page for further information and a full calendar or call 267-436-3126.

This Week

COVID-19 community testing sites - images

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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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Phase 2 of Rental Assistance for Tenants Affected by COVID-19

Philadelphia Rental Relief Program

Philadelphia has instituted a rental relief program for people who have lost income because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  This program is for renters, whose incomes are under 500% of the poverty level.  That amount is $63,800 for one individual; add $22,400 for each additional person in the household.  Rental assistance is for three months with the possibility of extensions.  This program is limited to people who receive Ryan White services and who do not have other housing subsidies.  Click here for links to the guidelines, and to the application.  Only your case manager can submit the application.

Please visit PHLRentAssist.org for more information.

Latest from FIGHT on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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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.


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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#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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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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List of Philadelphia Churches Livestreaming Easter Services

Below is a list of Philadelphia Churches that are streaming Easter services on Sunday, April 12, 2020.

Arch Street Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia
Pastors. Bill Golderer & Carla Jones Brown
10:45 AM, Sunday
Go to their website which will link you with their Zoom Service. https://archstreetpres.org

Dare to Imagine Church, Philadelphia
Pastor Kevin Johnson
9:00 AM and 11:00 AM, Sunday
Facebook Live: https://www.facebook.com/d2ichurch/ Website: https://livestream.com/d2i

Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church, Philadelphia
Rev. Dr. Alyn Waller
9:45 AM, Sunday
Facebook Live: https://www.facebook.com/enontab/
Website: https://enontab.org 

Lombard Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia
Rev. Dr. Chris Kimmenez
11:00 AM Sunday    
Facebook Live https://www.facebook.com/pastorchris.kimmenez

Living Water UCC Church, Philadelphia
Pastor Nicolas O’Rourke 
11:00 AM, Sunday  
Facebook Live: https://www.facebook.com/LivingWaterUCC/?ref=br_rs

Mother Bethel AME Church, Philadelphia
Rev. Dr. Mark Tyler
9:30 AM, Sunday
Facebook Live: https://www.facebook.com/MotherBethel/ 

St. Paul’s Baptist Church, Philadelphia
Rev. Dr. Leslie Callahan
11:00 AM, Sunday.
Facebook Live: https://www.facebook.com/10thandWallace/ 

St. Stephens Episcopal Cathedral, Harrisburg
Pre-recorded services

True Gospel Tabernacle Family Church, Philadelphia
Bishop Ernest McNear Website: https://truegospeltabernacle.org/site/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/True-Gospel-Tabernacle-Family-Church-117123125035603/

Trinity United Church of Christ, Chicago
Rev. Dr Otis Moss III (Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Pastor Emeritus).
7:30 AM and 11:00 AM, Sunday
Facebook Live: https://www.facebook.com/trinitychgo/ 
Website: https://www.trinitychicago.org 

Truth and Life Empowerment Community Ministries, Philadelphia
Pastor Clarence Hayes
10:00 AM, Sunday
Facebook Live: https://www.facebook.com/PastorCHayes/

Unity Fellowship Church of Christ, Philadelphia
Pastors Jeffery Haskins & B.J. Tillman
1:45 PM, Sunday
Facebook Live: https://www.facebook.com/Unity-Fellowship-Church-Of-Christ-Philadelphia-214296615098/

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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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NIH Releases Interim Guidance for COVID-19 and Persons with HIV

See the full guidelines online

Interim Guidance for COVID-19 and Persons with HIV

Last Updated: March 20, 2020; Last Reviewed: March 20, 2020

This interim guidance reviews special considerations for persons with HIV and their health care providers in the United States regarding COVID-19. Information and data on COVID-19 are rapidly evolving. This guidance includes general information to consider. Clinicians should refer to updated sources for more specific recommendations regarding COVID-19.

Guidance for all Persons with HIV

  • In current reports, individuals aged >60 years and those with diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, or pulmonary disease are at highest risk of life-threatening COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus known as SARS-CoV-2.
  • The limited data currently available do not indicate that the disease course of COVID-19 in persons with HIV differs from that in persons without HIV. Before the advent of effective combination antiretroviral therapy (ART), advanced HIV infection (i.e., CD4 cell count <200/mm3) was a risk factor for complications of other respiratory infections. Whether this is also true for COVID-19 is yet unknown.
  • Some people with HIV have other comorbidities (e.g., cardiovascular disease or lung disease) that increase the risk for a more severe course of COVID-19 illness. Chronic smokers are also at risk of more severe disease.
  • Thus, until more is known, additional caution for all persons with HIV, especially those with advanced HIV or poorly controlled HIV, is warranted.
  • Every effort should be made to help persons with HIV maintain an adequate supply of ART and all other concomitant medications.
  • Influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations should be kept up to date.
  • Persons with HIV should follow all applicable recommendations of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to prevent COVID-19, such as social distancing and proper hand hygiene. These recommendations are regularly updated.
  • Information on COVID-19 prevention in children with HIV for pediatric health care providers and the general public is available from CDC.
  • CDC also provides information about COVID-19 prevention during pregnancy.

Antiretroviral Therapy

Persons with HIV Should:

  • Maintain on-hand at least a 30-day supply—and ideally a 90-day supply—of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs and other medications.
  • Talk to their pharmacists and/or healthcare providers about changing to mail order delivery of medications when possible.
  • Persons for whom a regimen switch is planned should consider delaying the switch until close follow-up and monitoring are possible.
  • Lopinavir/ritonavir (LPV/r) has been used as an off-label treatment for patients with COVID-19 and clinical trials are underway globally. If protease inhibitors (PIs) are not already part of a person’s ARV regimen, their regimen should not be changed to include a PI to prevent or treat COVID-19, except in the context of a clinical trial and in consultation with an HIV specialist. In a small open-label trial, 199 hospitalized patients with COVID-19 were randomized to either 14 days of LPV/r plus standard of care or standard of care alone. No statistically significant difference was seen between the two groups, with regards to time to clinical improvement or mortality.1

Clinic or Laboratory Monitoring Visits Related to HIV Care:

  • Together with their health care providers, persons with HIV and their providers should weigh the risks and benefits of attending, versus not attending in-person, HIV-related clinic appointments at this time. Factors to consider include the extent of local COVID-19 transmission, the health needs that will be addressed during the appointment, and the person’s HIV status (e.g., CD4 cell count, HIV viral load) and overall health.
  • Telephone or virtual visits for routine or non-urgent care and adherence counseling may replace face-to-face encounters.
  • For persons who have a suppressed HIV viral load and are in stable health, routine medical and laboratory visits should be postponed to the extent possible.

Persons with HIV and in Opioid Treatment Programs:

  • Clinicians caring for persons with HIV who are enrolled in opioid treatment programs (OTPs) should refer to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) website for updated guidance on avoiding treatment interruptions. State methadone agencies are also responsible for regulating OTPs in their jurisdictions and may provide additional guidance.

Guidance for Specific Populations

Pregnant Individuals with HIV:

  • Currently, there is limited information about pregnancy and maternal outcomes in individuals who have COVID-19.
  • Immunologic and physiologic changes during pregnancy generally increase a pregnant individual’s susceptibility to viral respiratory infections, possibly including COVID-19. As observed with other coronavirus infections, the risk for severe illness, morbidity, or mortality with COVID-19 may be greater among pregnant individuals than among the general population.2
  • Although limited, currently available data do not indicate that pregnant individuals are more susceptible to COVID-19 infection or that pregnant individuals with COVID-19 have more severe illness.6,7 Adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as fetal distress and preterm delivery, were noted in a small series of pregnant women with COVID-19 infection and have been reported with SARS and MERS infections during pregnancy.3-5
  • Findings from a small group of pregnant women with COVID-19 did not find evidence for vertical transmission of COVID-19, although at least one case of neonatal COVID-19 has been described.7-9
  • Information on pregnancy and COVID-19 is available from CDC, the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Children with HIV:

Guidance for Persons with HIV in Self-Isolation or Quarantine Due to SARS-CoV-2 Exposure

Health Care Workers Should:

  • Verify that patients have adequate supplies of all medications and expedite additional drug refills as needed.
  • Devise a plan to evaluate patients if they develop COVID-19-related symptoms, including for possible transfer to a health care facility for COVID-19-related care.

Persons with HIV Should:

  • Contact their health care provider to report that they are self-isolating or in quarantine.
  • Specifically, inform their health care provider how much ARV medications and other essential medications they have on hand.

Guidance for Persons with HIV who have Fever or Respiratory Symptoms and are Seeking Evaluation and Care

Health Care Workers Should:

  • Follow CDC recommendations, as well as state and local health department guidance on infection control, triage, diagnosis, and management.

Persons with HIV Should:

  • Follow CDC recommendations regarding symptoms.
  • If they develop a fever and symptoms (e.g., cough, difficulty breathing), they should call their health care provider for medical advice.
  • Call the clinic in advance before presenting to the care providers.
  • Use respiratory and hand hygiene and cough etiquette when presenting to the healthcare facility and request a face mask as soon as they arrive.
  • If they present to a clinic or an emergency facility without calling in advance, they should alert registration staff immediately upon arrival of their symptoms so that measures can be taken to prevent COVID-19 transmission in the health care setting. Specific actions include placing a mask on the patient and rapidly putting the patient in a room or other space separated from other people.

Guidance for Managing Persons with HIV who Develop COVID-19

When Hospitalization is Not Necessary, the Person with HIV Should:

  • Manage symptoms at home with supportive care for symptomatic relief.
  • Maintain close communication with their health care provider and report if symptoms progress (e.g., sustained fever for >2 days, new shortness of breath).
  • Continue their ARV therapy and other medications, as prescribed.

When the Person with HIV is Hospitalized:

  • ART should be continued. If the ARV drugs are not on the hospital’s formulary, administer medications from the patients’ home supplies.
  • ARV drug substitutions should be avoided. If necessary, clinicians may refer to recommendations on ARV drugs that can be switched in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) guidelines for caring for persons with HIV in disaster areas.
  • For patients who receive ibalizumab (IBA) intravenous (IV) infusion every 2 weeks as part of their ARV regimen, clinicians should arrange with the patient’s hospital provider to continue administer of this medication without interruption.
  • For patients who are taking an investigational ARV medication as part of their regimen, arrangements should be made with the investigational study team to continue the medication if possible.
  • For critically ill patients who require tube feeding, some ARV medications are available in liquid formulations and some, but not all, pills may be crushed. Clinicians should consult an HIV specialist and/or pharmacist to assess the best way for a patient with a feeding tube to continue an effective ARV regimen. Information may be available in the drug product label or from this document from the Toronto General Hospital Immunodeficiency Clinic.

When Receiving Investigational or Off-Label Treatment for COVID-19:

  • There is currently no approved treatment for COVID-19. Several investigational and marketed drugs are being evaluated in clinical trials to treat COVID-19 or may also be available via compassionate use or off-label use.
  • For patients receiving COVID-19 treatment, clinicians must assess the potential for drug interactions between the COVID-19 treatment and the patient’s ARV therapy and other medications. Information on potential drug interactions may be found in product labels, drug interaction resources, clinical trial protocols, or investigator brochures.
  • When available, clinicians may consider enrolling patients in a clinical trial evaluating the safety and efficacy of experimental treatment for COVID-19. Persons with HIV should not be excluded from these trials. Clinicaltrials.gov is a useful resource to find studies investigating potential treatments for COVID-19.

Additional Guidance for HIV Clinicians

  • Some Medicaid and Medicare programs, commercial health insurers, and AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs) have restrictions that prevent patients from obtaining a 90-day supply of ARV drugs and other medications. During the COVID-19 outbreak, clinicians should ask providers to waive drug-supply quantity restrictions. ADAPs should also provide patients with a 90-day supply of medications.
  • Persons with HIV may need additional assistance with food, housing, transportation, and childcare during times of crisis and economic fragility. To enhance care engagement and continuity of ARV therapy, clinicians should make every attempt to assess their patients’ need for additional social assistance and connect them with resources, including navigator services when possible.
  • During this crisis, social distancing and isolation may exacerbate mental health and substance use issues for some persons with HIV. Clinicians should assess and address these patient concerns and arrange for additional consultations, preferably virtual, as needed.
  • Telehealth options, including phone calls, should be considered for routine visits and to triage visits for patients who are ill.

More information regarding ARV management in adult, pregnant, and pediatric patients, as well as recommendations for prophylaxis and treatment of specific opportunistic infections, can be found in the medical practice guidelines for HIV/AIDS.

The CDC website provides information about COVID-19 for people with HIV.

This interim guidance was prepared by the following working groups of the Office of AIDS Research Advisory Council:

  • HHS Panel on Antiretroviral Guidelines for Adults and Adolescents
  • HHS Panel on Antiretroviral Therapy and Medical Management of Children Living with HIV
  • HHS Panel on Treatment of Pregnant Women with HIV Infection and Prevention of Perinatal Transmission
  • HHS Panel on Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in Adults and Adolescents with HIV
  • HHS Panel on Opportunistic Infections in HIV-Exposed and HIV-Infected Children


  1. Cao B, Wang Y, Wen D, et al. A trial of lopinavir-ritonavir in adults hospitalized with severe Covid-19. N Engl J Med. 2020. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32187464.
  2. Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Dotters-Katz S, Hughes BL. Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Pregnancy: What Maternal-Fetal Medicine Subspecialists Need to Know. 2020. Available at: https://s3.amazonaws.com/cdn.smfm.org/media/2267/COVID19-_updated_3-17-20_PDF.pdf.
  3. Siston AM, Rasmussen SA, Honein MA, et al. Pandemic 2009 influenza A(H1N1) virus illness among pregnant women in the United States. JAMA. 2010;303(15):1517-1525. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20407061.
  4. Alfaraj SH, Al-Tawfiq JA, Memish ZA. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection during pregnancy: Report of two cases & review of the literature. J Microbiol Immunol Infect. 2019;52(3):501-503. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29907538.
  5. Wong SF, Chow KM, Leung TN, et al. Pregnancy and perinatal outcomes of women with severe acute respiratory syndrome. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2004;191(1):292-297. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15295381.
  6. Liu Y, Chen H, Tang K, Guo Y. Clinical manifestations and outcome of SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy. J Infect. 2020. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32145216.
  7. Chen H, Guo J, Wang C, et al. Clinical characteristics and intrauterine vertical transmission potential of COVID-19 infection in nine pregnant women: a retrospective review of medical records. Lancet. 2020;395(10226):809-815. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32151335.
  8. Li Y, Zhao R, Zheng S, et al. Lack of vertical transmission of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2, China. Emerg Infect Dis. 2020;26(6). Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32134381.
  9. Wang S, Guo L, Chen L, et al. A case report of neonatal COVID-19 infection in China. Clin Infect Dis. 2020. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32161941.
  10. Dong Y, Mo X, Hu Y, et al. Epidemiological characteristics of 2,143 pediatric patients with 2019 coronavirus disease in China. Pediatrics. 2020. Available at: https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/pediatrics/early/2020/03/16/peds.2020-0702.full.pdf.
  11. Cruz AZ, S. COVID-19 in children: initial characterization of pediatric disease. Pediatrics. 2020. Available at: https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/pediatrics/early/2020/03/16/peds.2020-0834.full.pdf.
  12. Shen K, Yang Y, Wang T, et al. Diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of 2019 novel coronavirus infection in children: experts’ consensus statement. World J Pediatr. 2020. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32034659.
  13. Ogimi C, Englund JA, Bradford MC, Qin X, Boeckh M, Waghmare A. Characteristics and outcomes of coronavirus infection in children: The role of viral factors and an immunocompromised state. J Pediatric Infect Dis Soc. 2019;8(1):21-28. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29447395.
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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

Posted in <a href="https://fight.org/category/announcements/" rel="category tag">Announcements</a> Tagged <a href="https://fight.org/tag/coronavirus/" rel="tag">Coronavirus</a>, <a href="https://fight.org/tag/covid-19/" rel="tag">COVID-19</a> Leave a comment

Spotlight On

Annette B. Gadegbeku, MD

Annette B. Gadegbeku, MD

Annette B. Gadegbeku, MD is Director of Adult Medicine at John Bell Health Center and Jonathan Lax Treatment Center of Philadelphia FIGHT Community Health Centers. Dr. Gadegbeku is a Family Medicine Physician who specializes in primary care for all ages (from pediatrics to geriatrics)!

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Dr. Mario Cruz

Dr Cruz with PatientDr. 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.

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