We’re not waiting for COVID patients to come to us. We’re going to them.

Author: News Media
July 16, 2020

By Alexander Salerno

As a primary care physician, I’m not used to seeing my patients in parking lots. It’s not normal to do oral swabs and blood draws out of a van or for patients to be standing six feet apart in a line wrapped around the block. If coronavirus has proven anything, it’s that “normal” is a bygone word. I’ve been practicing medicine in New Jersey for decades and I’ve never seen anything like the coronavirus pandemic. New Jersey is starting to open up, but the virus is still ravaging communities at alarming rates.

It is imperative that as states begin to relax restrictions, we continue our pace with testing. This is the only way we will control the spread and keep the public safe as the summer months get into full swing. Last month, New Jersey doubled coronavirus testing capacity with an influx of 550,000 tests from the federal government. This is good, but we can’t stop there. Physicians on the frontline across the country must continue to work with state and national governments to communicate what is needed and where the need is most acutely felt.

Medically underserved minority populations are dying at disproportionate rates from this virus, a trend that inspired action in my practice and in others across the country. To combat this deadly pandemic in an equitable way, grassroots public health efforts need to continue to mobilize. Coronavirus won’t let up anytime soon, and neither should we.

Dr. Alexander Salerno is a physician at Salerno Medical Associates, a family-run, second-generation practice that serves East Orange and Newark. He’s also the founder of The Urban Healthcare Initiative Program (UHIP), a community-based health and education provider.

Original article:   https://www.nj.com/opinion/2020/07/we-see-patients-on-the-citys-streets-because-we-must-continue-testing-opinion.html