LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The COVID-19 pandemic is hitting minority communities particularly hard, but the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) is working to fight against the disparity.
The health district plans to do this by setting up community outreach centers. 8 News Now got an exclusive look inside the Health District’s very first center, located at All Saints Episcopal Church near Washington and Decatur in Las Vegas.
One of its main goals is to help communities of color combat COVID-19.
The quiet courtyard at All Saints Episcopal Church is transforming into a healthcare haven. SNHD’s Southern Nevada Community Health Center will offer COVID-19 testing and telehealth services at the church, which is meant to serve the surrounding area’s diverse population.
This is the first time the Health District’s Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) is doing outreach like this.
“We want to build strategic partnerships within the communities that we serve,” said Alfred McGugin, FQHC operations officer for SNHD.
McGugin said communities of color need this kind of outreach center amid the pandemic.
Data from the Health District shows minority groups in Clark County are being disproportionately impacted by the virus, in terms of hospitalizations and deaths. Experts say one reason for that is due to limited access to healthcare.
“We try to alleviate those barriers, and so this is why it’s very important for us as a community health center to build these bridges,” McGugin said. “It ultimately boils down to making sure that they’re not forgotten.”
This first outreach center is a collaboration between SNHD and All Saints Episcopal Church.
“Our parish is predominately Latino,” said Father Michael Engfer, the rector at All Saints.
Father Engfer said it was a no-brainer to work with the Health District, and he also said that the church doors are open to anyone in need.
“Getting the resources for healthcare out to our community, regardless of their background, financially or ethnically, is so important to us,” Father Engfer said.
McGugin said they are still waiting on some testing supplies, but help is on the horizon.
“We are growing our network,” McGugin said. “We are open to everyone.”
SNHD told 8 News Now the outreach center at All Saints should be up and running in a couple weeks.