by David Brinkman, Chief Executive Officer, Desert Aids Project
Since the very early days of HIV/AIDS, I cannot recall a time when DAP wrote you, with something so urgent. This is important. Desert AIDS Project is on the front lines of working to keep our community healthy and alive from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The spread of the Coronavirus in our area is serious. The Riverside County Department of Public Health issued a State of Emergency for our County.
In the next 48 hours DAP will take a bold step and we ask you to please have our backs. Last week, we opened our new clinics for DAP’s day-to-day healthcare operations, leaving our original clinic temporarily vacant. Today, I worked with our infectious disease doctors to develop an emergency plan of action to ensure the health and well-being of all we serve. The original clinic will be transformed this weekend into a specialized COVID-19 triage clinic. This will allow our medical experts to screen patients demonstrating symptoms in a quarantined space, while also allowing our non-symptomatic patients to continue having their health needs met without potential exposure.
This is no small undertaking. Desert AIDS Project is the healthcare home to 7,000 of our friends and neighbors, most of whom live at 200 percent of the federal poverty level or below. And, the majority of our patients are of an age with significantly increased risk. We already are seeing a dramatic increase in inquiries and we must be able to meet the need as it grows in the coming weeks.
This new clinic will cost DAP $575,000 to operate over the coming months.
For 36 years, DAP has responded to the needs of this Valley and cared for our neighbors. But only because you and our community stepped up to ensure we had the funding to do so. I need your help today.
Please click HERE and give what you can. Also, if you need or desire to give in another manner, you can reach me at dbrinkman@desertaidsproject.
At every turn, as a community, we must work together to ensure that care always remains available for those who need it. We must join efforts to ensure we remain calm, while putting plans in place to care for those affected by COVID-19.
Whether you can give today or not, when it comes to how best to protect ourselves — and at the same time how best to protect others — getting back to the basics works: stay home when you are sick; frequently wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soapy water; employ good cough and sneeze etiquette; and wear a mask when you have respiratory symptoms.
Thank you for your commitment to the humanitarian healthcare provided by DAP.
People avoid healthcare settings for fear of insurmountable medical bills and COVID-19 will be no different. We cannot afford to have sick people not in care and going to grocery stores and pharmacies. Through your support of DAP, we will provide care regardless of ability to pay for testing AND treatment. Together we can get in front of this pandemic.