COVID testing at two SHA developments
A joint effort by Springfield Housing Authority and Baystate Health resulted in COVID-19 testing for 172 people who likely otherwise would not have been tested for the global pandemic.
The initiative included visits by TD bank/Baystate’s Health Wellness on Wheels bus to Moxon Apartments and Saab Court, where residents, staff and the general public were welcome to stop by to be tested. Results were given within 48 hours.
SHA Executive Director Denise R. Jordan said the partnership provided an opportunity for the authority community, as well as visitors, to be tested for the virus that has spread across the globe, taking lives, causing illness even for many who recover, and periodically shutting down economies and public life.
“We’re grateful to Baystate Health for coming out to two of our locations and providing this service that very likely would not have been available to many of us,” Jordan said. “The bus was a welcome site at both Moxon and Saab Court.”
Thanks to heavy promotion by Baystate Health and the SHA’s Resident Services Department, many people took advantage of the services, which were done outside. The bright blue tents and van also helped draw people to be tested.
At Moxon, Dr. Andrew Balder said the service is a community outreach effort intended to provide education and medical services to places where people live and work.
“This is a way for us to be a part of the community that we serve,” said Balder, who is medical director at the Baystate Mason Square Neighborhood Health Center.
“The Wellness on Wheels bus spends time at locations across the are to provide education and services such as COVID testing and flu shots, and to answer medical questions that people have,” he noted.
Besides that, the program provides training for medical students from the UMass Medical Center in Worcester, said Sarah McAdoo, director of the UMass Medical School program at Baystate Health.
“This is our mobile classroom. We’ll be teaching medical students , delivering services and learning how to better serve the community,” McAdoo noted.
Kelly Lamas of Baystate Health said the mobile van will be visiting many locations across the city and beyond.
“We’re changing the way health care is delivered by bringing services and education right into the community,” she said. “We focus on information that stresses preventive measures people can take to stay healthy and to keep their families healthy.”
Indeed, Elizabeth Olivo brought her four children, Joseph, Kayden, Stephanie and Etana, along with her mother Daisy Olivo, to be tested for COVID-19.
Elizabeth said that her asthma makes her especially careful for herself and for her children.
“I’m nervous about COVID. I don’t want to get sick and I don’t want my children to get sick. When I heard about this I knew I wanted to have us all tested,” Olivo said.
Participants first filled out registration forms, and then sat in a nearby chair while nurse Kevin Clark administered the quick and painless test, with swabs inserted gently up each nostril. They were given a telephone number to call for results, which were given within 48 hours of each test.
SHA Property Manager Celina Correa oversaw the operation at Saab Court, and said many residents and visitors stopped by and appreciated the service right at their doorsteps.
“This was a great opportunity for the residents as well as the surrounding community,” Correa said. “They greatly benefited by this opportunity because many have difficulty leaving their homes. This was a big success and we look forward to working with Baystate Health in the future.”
At Moxon, SHA Property Manager Sandra West agreed.
“This is so great,” West said. “We let all our residents and staff know that this was available, and we welcomed neighbors and friends. Anybody can come. It’s such a wonderful opportunity for everyone.”
West also noted the blue gift bags and small white boxes that were given to each participant. Insider were educational pamphlets as well as sunglasses, hand sanitizer and wipes, a mask, and even crayons and coloring sheets for the younger set.
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