As Virus Threatens Service Industry, B-N Free Clinic Open For Business | WGLT

As Virus Threatens Service Industry, B-N Free Clinic Open For Business

Mar 26, 2020

A free clinic in Normal says it’s open for business and still seeing patients, including many who’ve been financially rattled by the coronavirus outbreak.

The Community Health Care Clinic (CHCC) has made a few changes to minimize COVID-19 exposure inside the building at 900 N. Franklin Ave.

  • All prescriptions are filled drive-up style at a prescription window.
  • Only patients themselves are allowed in for visits. No home-from-school kids or other accompanying friends or family.
  • No dental visits, except for extreme emergencies, to cut down on that direct contact with people’s mouths.

CHCC is also offering telemedicine visits, said executive director Mike Romagnoli. 

The clinic hasn’t seen any patients yet presenting coronavirus-like symptoms. 

“We pretty much anticipate that person showing up one of these days,” Romagnoli said. “We’re as ready as we can be for it.” 

For now, the impact on CHCC’s patients has been economic. Its medically underserved population includes many working in the service industry, such as restaurants, hotels, and cleaning companies. All have been hard hit by closures and economic slowdown. 

CHCC also continues to work with Home Sweet Home Ministries on its Food Farmacy program, which helps food-insecure patients with diabetes, hypertension and other chronic illnesses supplement their diet with healthy foods and fresh produce. 

While the co-op is closed right now, Home Sweet Home is putting together emergency food boxes for CHCC patients. 

“That’s a major impact for our patients right now,” he said.

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