Graham Kilmer

South Side Group Builds COVID-19 Clinic

In heavy duty tents, Sixteenth Street Health Centers will offer drive-thru testing, follow-ups and urgent care.

By - Nov 25th, 2020 10:02 am

Drive through testing at Parkway Clinic. Photo courtesy of Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers.

The Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers on the city’s South Side have put up two heavy duty structured tents for their COVID-19 operations going into the winter.

The City of Milwaukee Health Department provided a grant to the community health group for the two tents, which will be used for drive-through testing and clinical space. The funding is federal CARES Act dollars that were put into the state’s Routes to Recovery Local Government Aid Grant, which the city then allocated to Sixteenth Street.

The tents are set up at the health centers’ Parkway Clinic at 2906 S. 20th St. One tent, for drive-thru testing, is approximately 80 by 40 feet. The other is approximately 98 by 33 feet long.

The testing tent will provide COVID-19 tests during the day and drive-thru flu vaccines at night. Inside the structure are separate rooms, or sub-tents, for walk-up tests and on-the-spot patient evaluation, said Allison True, a spokesperson for the health centers.

The other tent is providing clinical space for COVID-19 patients with 14 exam rooms and two offices. When it is operating at capacity, there will be up to four doctors working out of the tent. The health centers use the space to provide follow-up care and urgent care.

Mayor Tom Barrett said during a media briefing Tuesday the Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers was chosen because of the volume of testing and patients they serve.

“Throughout the pandemic we have seen the crucial role that community organizations play, and Sixteenth Street in particular, and the need for testing and care in the neighborhoods that have suffered the most,” Barrett said.

Barrett said that Sixteenth Street is culturally competent to serve the populations on the city’s South Side and reduces the cultural and language barriers for those accessing testing. He noted that it serves an area of the city that has been struggling with many residents testing positive for COVID-19.

As Urban Milwaukee has reported, the South Side has been a hotspot for COVID-19 transmission for some time. In particular, its Hispanic population for months had a case rate well above other racial or ethnic populations in the city and county.

“Our residents trust these organizations and they trust that the organizations are looking out for their best interest,” Barrett said. “And this trust, which is a very, very important concept, helps combat the misinformation and fear that is out there around testing and care for COVID-19.”

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