LVHN Street medicine team trying to keep the homeless out of ERs and away from COVID-19

Written by on June 26, 2020

 LVHN Street medicine team trying to keep the homeless out of ERs and away from COVID-19

By Chloe Nouvelle

June 26, 2020

The Lehigh Valley Health Network’s street medicine team pays regular visits to homeless encampments. They’re trying to keep vulnerable people from having to seek care in emergency rooms – where they’d risk exposing themselves to COVID-19.

It’s 8 a.m. and the street medicine team is already out. Visiting a tent camp in Bethlehem – what might be a refuge from COVID-19.

 A man who called himself rick… Has been living in the camp since winter.

“I’m just staying outside for now. It seems like especially during COVID, it’s safer.”

The street medicine team checks in with this camp about every two weeks to follow up on care. Right now, around a dozen people live here.

The lack of running water is a huge obstacle…as is the fact that some people here still go to work. And can bring the virus back to their neighbors 

The med team expects the camp’s numbers to grow as moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures are lifted.

Seth Campbell, a physician’s assistant says it’s only a matter of time until COVID finds its way here.

“It’s almost just a ticking time bomb. But if we can keep our folks healthy out here the community is healthier at large.”

Watch Chloe’s PBS39 News Tonight Report.


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