RESPONSE TO COVID-19:
At Circle the City, we are dedicated to providing high quality, holistic healthcare to people experiencing homelessness in Maricopa County. The health and safety of our patients, doctors, and staff is of utmost importance to us, and are working closely with federal, state and local partners to stay informed about the developments of the novel COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak.
While we don’t have known widespread community transmission in Maricopa county or Arizona at this time, our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Sandoval, and her team of medical directors and staff have developed a plan, in the event the virus escalates to high rates of community transmission.
Our patient population will encounter a unique set of challenges during the COVID-19 outbreak. People experiencing homelessness are highly susceptible to infectious disease, they encounter difficulties in accessing high-quality healthcare, and they are often overlooked during emergency situations. Therefore, our organization is taking extra precautions while providing health care services during our street outreach as well as at our fixed medical facilities, and have developed an emergency response plan.
We would like to share the below information regarding our COVID-19 outbreak plans:
- Circle the City is taking inventory of personal protective equipment (PPE) and working with vendors to fill any gaps for preparation, should community transmission begin in Maricopa County. Personal protective equipment includes procedure masks, gloves, gowns, and goggles.
- We are enhancing the screening of our patients per CDC’s recommended guidelines.
- Circle the City is implementing enhanced infection control procedures to mitigate potential spread of COVID-19 including:
- Providing refresher training for clinical staff on proper hand washing procedures;
- Using standard precautions for any interactions that require contact with bodily fluids;
- Training staff on enhanced cleaning protocols including increasing cleaning efforts on all “high touch” surfaces in shared clinical spaces and cleaning all exam rooms between patients;
- Posting precaution signs in shared clinical spaces, such as “cover your cough” and “use proper hand hygiene”;
- Ensuring clinical staff are able to quickly identify and isolate patients showing any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 as they enter Circle the City’s facilities;
- Isolating any patient showing signs and symptoms of the virus in identified clinics exam rooms;
- Safely transporting ill patients to the emergency department; and
- Reporting cases of COVID-19 to local public health department.
Our organization will continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 situation and will adjust our practices as necessary to maintain the safety of our patients, staff and the community as a whole.