Community health centers face needed supply shortage to combat coronavirus


HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– Community health centers across Connecticut are concerned that they could run out of essential supplies as Covid-19 cases spread across Connecticut.

“Right now all of the health centers are facing a supply shortage,” said Nichelle Mullins.

Masks, gloves, wipes, gowns, eye shields, and hand sanitizer. Connecticut community health centers are in need of more supplies.

“Some of the very basic things that we need to continue care,” said Mullins.

Nichelle Mullins is president and chief executive officer of Hartford’s Charter Oak Health Center. One of 17 community health centers across the state that receive funding from the federal government and provide care regardless of ability to pay.

“We are a resource for the hospitals because if we close our doors everyone is going to flood the hospitals,” said Mullins.

Hundreds walk through these doors daily with COVID-19 spreading across Connecticut. Workers check temperatures at the door and have the ability to collect samples that can be tested for coronavirus.

65% of community health centers patients are on Medicaid, 20 to 24% are uninsured.

“The fear for many of us is that we’re not being prioritized when the shipments come in,” said Mullins.

There are some supplies on the way from the state Department of Public Health. The center has also been working with Connecticut’s U.S. senators in an effort to push for more federal resources.

“We will be receiving expired N95 masks. We can’t use them as a form of protection per say, but it’s something,” said Mullins.

One way Charter Oak is working to manage the pandemic is by trying to limit the number of people walking through the door by providing virtual and telephone consultations with doctors.

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