A Message from Mazzoni Center’s Chief Medical Officer About COVID-19(Coronavirus)
Unlike some other healthcare facilities, Mazzoni Center’s staff, patients and clients live in a shared community. This is a source of our strength. So, during this COVID-19 pandemic, taking care of our clients/patients also means we are taking care of our staff and each other. Our commitment to the health and safety of staff and volunteers and patients and clients is our highest priority.
Mazzoni Center found its strength to lead during the HIV epidemic in the 1980s, when little was known about the virus, how it was spread and how best to protect the health of our community. We are named after Dr. Peter Mazzoni, who cared for HIV patients when providers in the city were scarce and afraid. This is our heritage and our history. It is not a perfect history and I understand that not all who should have been included were included at the time but we have a path to move forward together in difficult and complex times.
A lot has changed since the 1980’s—in the world around us and within Mazzoni Center. The one thing that has not changed is our commitment to our community’s health and well-being. It is this commitment that informs and underpins our decisions as we respond to the coronavirus outbreak.
Last week, we made the decision to close Mazzoni Center and the Washington West Project to our usual level of service. We did not close to our patients altogether but limited the risk of exposure to the coronavirus for our staff until we could review information and make thoughtful decisions. As the outbreak has intensified, we have made changes to continue to keep everyone safe. The first such decision is to continue limiting our services to only medical and behavioral health until March 30th. During this past week, we have worked through some of the challenges of providing care via the telephone and plan to expand to full telemedicine next week. We have not been out of touch with our patients, although to some it may seem so. We acknowledge the importance of clear communication for patients to know we were here for them. Next week, our behavioral health department will start teletherapy services as well.
Leadership of all of Mazzoni Center’s programs are working together on ways to keep us all connected and supported through this time that can be isolating and anxiety-producing. Please continue to check our website for updates.
Next week we hope to begin seeing patients in person whom our providers feel have an urgent clinical need. Patients will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms prior to coming to the office. We continue to ask that no one walk in unscheduled to our facility. Please do not hesitate to contact us via the portal or by phone if you have questions or concerns.
Thank you for your support and your concerns. We are here for you and each other while we respond to these rapidly changing times. Please take care of yourself and each other. Don’t forget to wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds, avoid touching your face, and stay home to follow the social distancing guidelines.
Take care and be safe.