Medical students screen homeless for COVID-19

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Some medical students are working to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among the homeless community. A group from one Nevada university is assisting our most vulnerable outside Cashman Field, where a temporary overnight shelter is now in place. 

Roughly ten medical and physician assistant students from Touro University Nevada are screening the homeless for COVID-19 symptoms. 

“We were not testing we were just screening,” said Niyat Teweldebrhan, who is a PA student at Touro University Nevada. “We wanted to help in anyway we can. So when this opportunity came out we were like yes please, we were waiting for it”

All of the students are wearing personal protective equipment or PPE. Their gear includes masks, surgical gowns and gloves. 

Teweldebrahn spoke with 8 News Now via a video chat. She said she offered her assistance Saturday night after receiving a last minute notice for volunteers. 

“These are the situations you need to stand up and be there for your community,” Teweldebrhan said.

“We started about two or two and a half weeks ago working together with the students to create what we call ‘med ready group,’ to be ready whenever we need or whenever the need arises,” said Touro Univesrity Nevada Dean Dr. Wolfgang Giliar.

They’re ready to take on necessary tasks, but the students’ efforts only go so far.

“We had another tent where if there was a high risk we would put them there,” Teweldebrhan said. “That’s where we draw the line where we can’t help them. That’s where EMS comes and picks them up.”

The students are doing their best to keep some of our community’s most vulnerable safe.

“They are actually a high risk population, since they don’t have a stable home to quarantine like we are right now,” Teweldebrhan said.

Touro University Nevada students are scheduled to continue volunteering at Cashman Field to screen guests as long as the temporary facility remains open.

The city opened Cashman Field after Catholic Charities temporarily closed its emergency night shelter for men. This happened after a homeless client tested positive for COVID-19.

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