This public crisis impacts everyone, and the most vulnerable community should be helped, they warn
Regardless of immigration status or if they have health insurance or not, Immigrants should seek medical attention if they suspect they are infected with the coronavirus epidemic.
Leaders of the Immigrant Human Rights Coalition (CHIRLA), the Los Angeles County Community Clinic Association, the Monsignor Óscar A. Romero Clinic, and the Health Net and LA CARE health plans met at a conference of press to make a particular call to immigrants to take into account that their health is first and is a human right.
Therefore, they were reminded that their immigration status should not be a barrier to protect themselves and their families.
On March 4, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the Department of Public Health declared a public and local emergency in response to the increase in coronavirus cases across the country and in the county.
The total number of cases in Los Angeles County totaled 14 through March 7. The identified persons have been quarantined for at least 14 days.
Carlos Vaquerano, director of the Romero Clinic, asked local, county and state governments to join forces to support the immigrant community who, he said, are the most vulnerable in this crisis.
"Health is a right, so we ask that you allocate resources for this community," he said.
They are currently waiting for federal funds to deal with the public crisis that the coronavirus represents.
Pediatrician Julian Hirschbaum of the SEIU union residents and inmates committee said they will continue to treat patients regardless of their status and the language they speak. "They should not stop by the Public Cargo law," he warned.
The Public Charge rule entered into force on February 24, and consists of limiting the residence of the US. to those who have received food stamps, medical care and housing support for one year over a period of three years.
Louise McCarthy, president of the Los Angeles County Community Clinics Association, said that the coronavirus does not discriminate, but the public charge does.
“It is absolutely imperative that the federal government suspend the public charge because although it impacts very few people in Los Angeles, it is causing a lot of fear. We want to ensure that they are not afraid to seek medical services because we are here to serve them, we are their protection network, ”he said.
And he urged those who do not feel well, to call a local community clinic. “We are trained in prevention measures and can support them. QWe can make sure that the coronavirus is not transmitted in our communities".
Dr. Richard Seidman, head of medical services at the L.A. health plan Care called everyone to seek help regardless of immigration status or whether they have medical insurance or not. “Public health is the most important and we want all members of the community to be healthy. The good news is that there are no cases of community-based coronavirus transmission in Los Angeles. This will probably change. That is why we must be prepared instead of panicking and taking basic precautionary measures. ”
“If you are sick, call a healthcare provider and explain your case, many times you don't need a doctor to see you. If they have to see you, your health care provider will make arrangements in advance so you can see a doctor without being a risk to others, ”he said.
Miriam Mesa, director of community education at CHIRLA, revealed that fear of public charge is paralyzing the community to seek health care. "I ask you to call us at the information line (888) 624-4752 to tell them if you may or may not have a future problem. But regardless of that, the number one priority is your well-being and that of your family. We can connect it with a community clinic and health plans that do not affect migration, ”he said.
Dr. Javier García of the Romero Clinic asked the community Do not continue buying and storing toilet paper and water bottles. "It is not necessary. The most important thing is to wash your hands thoroughly with soap for at least 20 seconds, and do it more frequently. Do not touch eyes, nose and face. And if you sneeze or cough, cover your face or use your elbow to not spread the virus, ”he said.
And he specified that The main difference between the coronavirus and a common influence is the cough, fever and especially the lack of air.
Other recommendations are: stay home if they are sick, and frequently disinfect surfaces that they touch regularly, do not wear masks unless they are sick and go to a clinic to seek help.
It is also advised to avoid hand greetings.