Responding to COVID-19 in an Uninsured Hispanic/Latino Community: Testing, Education and Telehealth at a Free Clinic in Providence

This article was originally published here

R I Med J (2013). 2020 Nov 2;103(9):41-46.


The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the effects of existing health disparities throughout the United States. While Hispanic/Latino individuals account for only 16% of the Rhode Island (RI) population, Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) data show that 45% of COVID-19 cases and 36% of individuals who have been hospitalized identify as Hispanic/Latino. Clínica Esperanza/Hope Clinic (CEHC) mobilized a comprehensive effort to offer telehealth visits, health education and accessible, walk-up COVID-19 testing for low-income, uninsured and Spanish-speaking individuals living in Rhode Island. With support from CEHC volunteers, the City of Providence, the State of Rhode Island, and local foundations, CEHC has administered 1,649 individual COVID-19 tests as of October 2020. The overall COVID-19 test positivity rate at CEHC was 23%, peaking in April at 48%. Additionally, CEHC has distributed more than 1,600 meal boxes to patients experiencing food insecurity, provided emergency financial resources, while rapidly scaling up healthcare services for the increasing numbers of uninsured individuals in RI.