Undocumented in a pandemic

With an increase of COVID-19 cases across the US, a mixture of fear and disbelief has circulated in the communities. Many people, including immigrants, are confused with contradicting COVID-19 messages, and whether the severity of the pandemic is real. 

For undocumented immigrants, finding a clinic is not as simple and often means searching through word of mouth, asking relatives or close family friends. According to Salud America, most of the United States COVID-19 cases are Latino or Black.

How do clinics adapt?

Alma Clinic is one of the few that accepts patients with no insurance or papers. Most of their patients are from the Hispanic community in Reno, NV. For two months, the clinic was closed, and just recently reopened.

“Our patients started dropping off for those two months. Now, since opening back up in June, we’re back to having full schedules,” stated the clinic’s nurse practitioner Sonia Rich-Mazzeo.

“People wait until they can’t wait anymore to get care, and a lot of times, it’s too late,” she added.

It’s not only the fear of being sent back, that keeps the undocumented from seeking medical care. It’s also the question of whether or not “I will be able to afford it.”

The average cost of health care visit in the United States is $69. This cost can be too high for people barely making through the pandemic without health insurance. 

Rich-Mazzeo emphasized that preventative care is pretty much the only way to stay healthy in these circumstances. 

Among the most useful tips, she mentioned a well-balanced diet, wearing a mask when out in public, maintaining social distancing, and consistently washing hands.

Featured image courtesy of Matthew Henry

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