Community-University Health Care Center (CUHCC) and Wellshare International have been collaborating and doing work together for some time now, including our very own CHWs working with patients in the clinic. Traditionally, the CHWs connect with patients in the clinic around a variety of reproductive health and family planning topics. CUHCC has given us the lovely opportunity to have our CHW Sadia join them on their mobile testing journey for COVID-19 in Minneapolis. The journey includes visiting different residential locations and setting up stations for patients to get registered, evaluated by a provider, tested by a nurse, and have a conversation with a CHW about some important COVID-19 facts and how Wellshare is willing to help.
Recently, CUHCC offers mobile testing outside the Horn Towers located at 3110 Blaisdell Avenue in South Minneapolis. We are usually setting up/starting testing by 12:30pm-1pm on Monday and Tuesday and the People’s Center is there for testing on Wednesday and Thursday. Throughout the process the CHW helps clinical staff in any way that they can, whether that may be through helping set up, directing patients to different areas, and/or sometimes even translating. Overall between the two days we were able to test nearly 70 patients!
After a patient goes through the steps of testing they sit with a CHW about follow-up and when they should be receiving notice on whether or not they have tested positive. After that conversation, the CHW asks the patient if they have ever heard of WellShare and the work that we do. Since most of the patients do not speak English as their first language we provide resources in other languages and allow the patients to have some options to choose from. Sadia shared resources with patients about tobacco, family planning, and general Wellshare brochures. Patients had many questions about results and it was helpful to address their concerns, especially in this time when it is difficult to access their Primary Care providers and receive health education. Certain people from surrounding neighborhoods even shared that many elders avoid COVID-19 by just not leaving their house so a mobile testing site right outside of their homes has been a game changer. Even the ones who have been weary or skeptical of testing have become more willing to come down once they heard how quick the test really was.
It is mid-summer and the hot weather can often times present itself as a challenge but luckily as a team we have persevered. Many patients showed interest in the resources that were provided by the CHW but were not comfortable enough with sharing their information for follow-up outside of their COVID-19 results. Early success with increasing access to testing is a good indication that as time goes on we will be able to ease into this process as patients will become more familiar with the staff present at mobile testing.