A $50,000 grant from the Auen Foundation is helping serve desert residents with a COVID-19 Triage Clinic recently opened at Desert AIDS Project (DAP) in Palm Springs. In mid-March, DAP health workers and other staff quickly created the COVID-19 Triage Clinic over one weekend. It’s been open ever since.
“Our goal is straight forward: save lives through COVID-19 testing and symptom treatment and save lives through keeping moderately ill people in our care verses overwhelming the valley’s emergency rooms,” said David Brinkman, CEO of DAP. “This grant is helping us accomplish that.”
In addition to the COVID-19 Triage Clinic, DAP recently opened a drive-up service for people who qualify for testing to be evaluated and swabbed for COVID-19 in their vehicles. All coronavirus-related services are available to anyone, regardless of other health conditions, including diagnosis of HIV/AIDS, which is what DAP was originally established to support. Since March 16, DAP reported seeing an average of 20 people per day at the COVID-19 Triage Clinic, but this capacity has increased to 40–50 per day by adding drive-up service, which requires an appointment by calling (760) 992‑0407. The nonprofit is still seeing clients for other services during the pandemic.
Having the dedicated COVID-19 Triage Clinic allows medical experts to screen patients demonstrating symptoms in a quarantined space, while also allowing non-symptomatic patients to continue having their health needs met without potential exposure.
“It is important that we keep our doors open during this time. Many people need the services we provide,” said Brinkman. “That’s why this gift from the Auen Foundation is so important.”
DAP is using the Auen Foundation gift to purchase medical supplies, including critical personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, gowns, and gloves and pay for costs associated with maintaining a sterile clinic environment. Funds also support professional health staff. DAP’s COVID-19 Triage Clinic includes a board-certified infectious disease clinician, a nurse practitioner, three registered nurses, one licensed vocational nurse, and two registration personnel. Currently, DAP is prepared to keep the clinic and testing operations open through mid-June, but administration is monitoring community needs and will adjust as necessary.
“From our longtime history of supporting DAP, we know the organization and the people there are committed to responding to the community’s ever-changing needs,” said Catharine Reed, Program Director for the Auen Foundation, which is dedicated to enhancing the overall quality of life of the aging population. “DAP acted quickly and responsibly when COVID-19 cases were first reported in the valley.”
Outside of the coronavirus pandemic, DAP serves the Coachella Valley with primary and HIV-specialty services, including medical and dental care, case management, and social services, including food, housing, and counseling, among other proactive health and treatment services. DAP’s COVID-19 hotline is (760) 992‑0407. For more information about any of DAP’s services, call 760–323-2118 or visit www.desertaidsproject.org. DAP is located at 1695 N. Sunrise Way, Palm Springs.