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Financially strained and low on supplies, community clinics help fight the coronavirus

Ruben Vives, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

Despite the distress the center has faced, Seamster said it has not turned anyone away. The clinic has about 30 kits to test for the coronavirus. So far, based on the criteria it is following, the clinic has performed very few tests -- and none have turned up positive for the virus.

"Even if we don't have enough resources, we share the ability to refer patients to a coalition of clinics," he said. "We look out for each other to get it done."

As rain pelted the white triage tent outside the Watts Health Center, Williams, the young expectant mother, sat on a blue chair wearing a surgical mask. Nearby, three children were coughing while two teens sat leaning forward with their heads down, each suffering from a sore throat.

Struggling to breathe, Netia Jones, 58, said she had asthma and needed a nebulizer that the clinic had.

"I don't want to be here because of the virus," she said, breathing heavily. "I'm afraid of it."

Nearby, slouched on a chair and wearing a mask, was Ada Gomez, 59, who came to the clinic to get a second opinion about her illness. She had a dry cough, a fever and the sore throat. She went to St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood, worried that she was infected with the coronavirus, but the doctors told her she didn't meet the criteria for testing and to stay home.

Gomez said she wanted to get a second opinion from doctors at the clinic.

 

"We have great doctors here," she said. "I've been coming here for four years."

(Los Angeles Times staff writer Ben Poston contributed to this report.)

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