In the US, we are working with local authorities and partner organisations in key locations around the country to improve the response for vulnerable people groups—those who are normally excluded from healthcare, or who are likely to be overlooked during the current pandemic.
In New York City, the current epicentre of the global pandemic, our focus is improving infection prevention and control (IPC) measures for vulnerable populations. On April 22 we opened a temporary shower trailer in Manhattan for those who are homeless or housing insecure and we have now provided over 800 showers. We have also donated over 160 handwashing stations to soup kitchens and supportive housing facilities for example, and we continue to distributing 1000 mobile phones to vulnerable New Yorkers who lack the essential technology needed to contact emergency, tele-health and other support services. We are also supporting the NYC Department of Homeless Services in developing a webinar training on COVID-19 and infection control and prevention practices.
In Immokalee, Florida, where approximately 15,000-20,0000 migrant farmworkers have continued to work despite minimal access to healthcare and testing, we are working closely with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers , the Department of Health and the local Health Care Network. MSF is running a public health education campaign and mobile ‘virtual’ clinics, which provide COVID-19 testing and remote medical consultations for COVID-19 and other health issues. We will also start supporting the health department with contact tracing.
In New Mexico and the Navajo Nation, an MSF team is working with local officials, healthcare providers and organisations that are directly addressing needs related to COVID-19 in Native American communities. We are supporting local and federal agencies and medical professionals by providing IPC training and guidance, first in community facilities in Pueblos, and now in correctional facilities in the Navajo Nation. We are also working with local authorities to expand public health information and education about COVID-19 and to institute contact tracing.
In Puerto Rico, MSF is again providing support to healthcare workers and organisations with an emphasis on vulnerable sections of the community including people who are experiencing homelessness, the elderly, people with substance abuse disorders and those affected by recent earthquakes. MSF is distributing essential supplies like medical masks, face shields and hygiene kits, and conducting IPC training to help essential workers, patients and others stay safe.