Day: June 12, 2020

Public Health Officials Face Wave Of Threats, Pressure Amid Coronavirus Response

Emily Brown was stretched thin.

As the director of the Rio Grande County Public Health Department in rural Colorado, she was working 12- and 14-hour days, struggling to respond to the pandemic with only five full-time employees for more than 11,000 residents. Case counts were rising.

She was already at odds with county commissioners, who were pushing to loosen public health restrictions in late May, against her advice. She had previously clashed with them over data releases and had haggled over a variance regarding reopening businesses.

But she reasoned that standing up for public health principles was worth it, even if she risked losing the job that allowed her to live close to her hometown and help her parents with their farm.

Then came the Facebook post: a photo of her and other health officials with comments about their weight and references to “armed citizens” and “bodies swinging from trees.”

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Health Workers Resort To Etsy, Learning Chinese, Shady Deals To Find Safety Gear

A nursing home worker in New Jersey rendezvoused with “the parking lot guy” to cut a deal for gowns. A director of safety-net clinics in Florida learned basic Chinese and waited outside past midnight for a truck to arrive with tens of thousands of masks. A cardiologist in South Carolina tried his luck with “shady characters” to buy ingredients to blend his own hand sanitizer.

The global pandemic has ordinary health care workers going to extremes in a desperate hunt for medical supplies. Community clinics, nursing homes and independent doctors, in particular, find themselves on the fringe of the supply chain for masks, gowns, gloves and ventilators.

Their missions have the cinematic quality of the drug trade or a black-market arms deal: Desperate administrators wire money to mysterious offshore bank accounts, wary of the flimflam man.

Most medical supplies ― from isolation gowns to the filtration components of N95 masks

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If You’ve Lost Your Health Plan In The COVID Crisis, You’ve Got Options

The coronavirus pandemic — and the economic fallout that has come with it — boosted health insurance enrollment counselor Mark Van Arnam’s workload. But he wants to be even busier.

The loss of employment for 21 million Americans is a double blow for many because it also means the loss of insurance, said Van Arnam, director of the North Carolina Navigator Consortium, a group of organizations that offer free help to state residents enrolling in insurance.

Calls to the consortium have increased sharply, but he believes many more people are going without insurance and could use his help. He suspects these newly unemployed people don’t realize they have options. Years of budget cuts by the federal government have hampered outreach from nonprofit groups like the consortium, so many consumers don’t understand that policies are available to help them regain or maintain health coverage.

“Large numbers of folks aren’t getting the

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COVID-19 Batters A Beloved Bay Area Community Health Care Center

MARIN CITY, Calif. ― A small band of volunteers started the Marin City Health and Wellness Center nearly two decades ago with a doctor and a retired social worker making house calls in public housing high-rises. It grew into a beloved community resource and a grassroots experiment in African American health care.

“It was truly a one-stop shop,” said Ebony McKinley, a lifelong resident of this tightknit, historically black enclave several miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge. “And it was ours.”

By early 2020, the center had a multimillion-dollar annual operation with two clinics, in Marin City and Bayview-Hunters Point, a predominantly black community in an industrial section of southeastern San Francisco. The clinics offered primary care geared to low-income residents of color, as well as access to dentists, psychotherapists, a substance abuse clinic and chiropractor.

In Marin City, ladies shouldering empty tote bags lined up on Tuesday afternoons

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