By Lisa Gresci

EAST BOSTON (CBS) — State and local leaders are coming together to get ahead to the coronavirus. At the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center Wednesday morning, Congressman Joe Kennedy III lead a round table discussion.

The focus of the discussion became the role of community health centers in the event of an outbreak and the potential impact the virus will have on the most vulnerable. Among the most at risk are those on Medicare and Medicaid, the uninsured, immigrants and anyone who feels they have no choice but to go work instead of staying home sick.

“I’m also concerned about our staff,” said Manny Lopes, president and CEO of East Boston Neighborhood Health Center. “Fifty percent of our staff come from the community we serve, and if there was an outbreak we are concerned whether or not we would have the staff to treat a potential outbreak.”

Rep. Joe Kennedy III leads a round table discussion at East Boston Neighborhood Health Center about coronavirus prevention on March 4, 2020. (WBZ-TV)

Kennedy has urged congressional leadership to include emergency funding for community health centers in any package presented to combat the coronavirus.

“Regardless of who you are you should get the treatment that you need here in this country in the midst of a pandemic, not just because it’s the right thing to do, because it is, but because it will stop the spread of the disease,” he aid.

Leaders also discussed preventing people who are sick from coming in to see the doctor and figuring out how to test them at home.

The Department of Public Health is set to release its first weekly update on the coronavirus and where it stands in our state. These posts are expected every Wednesday until further notice.

Lisa Gresci


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