MILWAUKEE -- If you don't have a primary care physician, health insurance or stable housing, Milwaukee County health officials want to hear from you, especially if you think you have symptoms of COVID-19, or you've been around others who have.
Between five Community Health Centers in Milwaukee, the goal is to perform upwards of 400 COVID-19 tests per day, while also providing continuing care for community members regardless of one's ability to pay for medical care.
A lack of health insurance, long-standing community health disparities, one's immigration status or all of the above can contribute to whether people seek out medical care, which can be problematic amid a pandemic.
"One of the key elements of being able to responsibly and safely dial back the 'Safer at Home' order is to ramp up our testing capacity," said Dr. Ben Weston, Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management.
The goal is to conduct hundreds of tests each day, collectively, at five Community Health Centers in Milwaukee.
"We're looking at this as a holistic approach to conquer COVID-19 collectively," said Dr. Tito Izard, Milwaukee Health Services president and CEO.
"Specifically providing options for patients without a doctor," said Dr. Weston.
Health officials asked that if you don't have a primary care doctor, you're uninsured, homeless or undocumented -- that you reach out.
"We want people to reach out and to maintain good health," said Jenni Sevenich, CEO of Progressive Community Health Centers.
The easiest way to do that is to simply dial 211. Once you've been set up with a clinic near you, a clinician will do a phone assessment and schedule a testing appointment. The test can be done from the safety of your vehicle. If you don't have a vehicle, officials stressed you should not take public transportation -- and noted other arrangements will be made.
"So, I'm encouraging all residents, if you are feeling as if you need to get tested, get tested," said Milwaukee Alderwoman Chantia Lewis.
COVID-19 can include the following symptoms:
• Shortness of breath
• Sore throat
• Loss of smell
• Loss of taste
"I want the message to resonate very clearly -- this is not a joke, not a hoax," said Alderwoman Lewis. "This is very serious, and we need to take it seriously."
Again, if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, contact your primary care doctor or Community Health Centers for a testing appointment -- but it's extremely important that you call first -- before showing up.
• Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center: 414-383-9526
• Milwaukee Health Services, Inc.: 414-372-8080
• Outreach Community Health Centers: 414-727-6320
• Progressive Community Health Centers: 414-882-2040
• Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers: 414-672-1353