Clinic stays open during pandemic

Since 2012, Open Arms Free Clinic has been dedicated to providing access to basic health care, and we are not going to stop now. As medical providers, we are prepared to care for our patients just as any other health care facility.  We may be driven by volunteers, but as public health servants who understand the needs of our most vulnerable neighbors, we will not crumble.  We urge patients  keep those medical appointments already scheduled at Open Arms. Your health is important – physical, mental, and oral health! We are here for you.

We know people living in poverty or without access to healthcare face the greatest risk from this pandemic. We understand the rational for the Governor’s mandate for social isolation, it is a public health measure to reduce the potential for infection so that the major health systems can build up their infrastructure and care for those with serious needs. On a national level, we are working with the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics to acquire treatment medications at the free clinics as one becomes available.  We are following the scientific gold standard of information from the Center for Disease Control (CDC).  On the local level, our leadership team is in constant communication with the Walworth County Health Department and AdvocateAurora Health.  We have a triage protocol if anyone calls or walks in with viral symptoms.  In addition to our standard cleaning and personal safety tools, we are asking our volunteers to use common sense and stay home for 14 days if they have recently traveled internationally or have viral symptoms.  Our patients are vulnerable due to their medical conditions and our elderly volunteers are vulnerable too.  As a community of care providers, we will continue to open our arms to keep us all safe.

Here in this extraordinary time, you likely have started to feel the impacts of COVID‑19 (the coronavirus). You might be changing your routines and taking extra care to stay safe, for yourself and your loved ones. Be calm, be courageous, and be kind.  While you may or may not have enough toilet paper for the extended time at home, remember our community is strong and we need to work together.  Offer to help a family who still needs to report to work yet needs to find a way to homeschool their kids for the next month.  Offer to pick up groceries for a friend if you are immune strong and able.  Check on a neighbor who you know may already feel the loneliness of social isolation.

Thank you in advance for heeding the recommendations of the trusted public health sources, as they have learned best practices since the cholera outbreak (circa 1800s) to the polio outbreak (circa 1950s) and everything else we have heard about in our current lifetime (Influenza, Ebola, SARS, Zika…).  We can do this – together!