Health & Wellness

Crescent Community Health Center Critical to the COVID-19 Pandemic Response

The facility’s leader said that’s a role Crescent has long played. “We will continue to be on the front lines trying to divert people from going to the (emergency room),” said CEO Gary Collins. “That is especially important now as we prepare for more cases of the coronavirus.”

Crescent, at 1690 Elm St., is a medical and dental clinic that specializes in serving the community’s under or uninsured, alongside other patients. Medical Director Dr. Heather Kruse said that early in the pandemic, staff reached out to patients, educating them to reduce their chances of getting the coronavirus and helping them obtain additional medication in advance so they wouldn’t have to venture out to get them. And they are advising patients who seem to have contracted COVID-19.

“If patients call and have symptoms, sometimes we will still make the call to get them to the ER,” Kruse said. “But, there are people who are positive who don’t need to be admitted. We are doing a lot of education for patients and are using a lot of resources to do that. Our translators are reaching out to patients now.”

Crescent has translators for Spanish-speaking patients as well as the Marshallese and other Pacific Island communities.

Many of Crescent’s usual services continue, though somewhat adjusted for the sake of avoiding the spread of COVID-19. “What’s changed is the process to get that care,” Collins said. “They’re going to be subjected to the screenings out front.”

Two modules sit outside now — one for COVID-19 symptom screening, one for general upper respiratory tests. Soon, he said, there will be another module for COVID-19 testing.

“We don’t have walk-up, drive-thru testing for the whole community yet because we’re waiting for that time to come down and tests to become more readily available,” Collins said.

Crescent received $700,000 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through the federal CARES Act for testing and telehealth.

On Friday, it was announced that Crescent had received another HHS grant of $195,000, specifically for testing. Collins said the center has seen great success in telehealth efforts since the pandemic began. He called the services a big hit with patients.

Mary Rose Corrigan, public health specialist for the City of Dubuque, is a Crescent board member and a member of the Dubuque County COVID-19 Incident Command Team. She said incident command is in daily contact with Crescent.

“Crescent not only serves the uninsured and under-insured,” she said. “Since Crescent has received federal funding specific for COVID-19, they are using part of that to help serve the community need in our response.”

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