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.