CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – The Community Care Clinic of Rowan County has always supported uninsured residents in Rowan County. Now, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the clinic works to keep non-emergency patients from visiting local hospitals.

“We remain open. Part of flattening the curve is avoiding spikes in emergency department traffic,” said Executive Director Krista Woolly. “If our patients can talk to us and pick up their medications, they won’t have to go to the emergency room. This is the role of a free clinic in flattening the curve. Open looks different today, but we are open.”

The “different” Woolly refers to is the new social-distancing that staff and patients have taken. The clinic offers curbside pickup for medications. Most importantly, Woolly said, is telemedicine video for doctor appointments. Dental operations have been temporarily suspended.

“Our medical department is 100% telemedicine with video or phone calls,” Woolly said. “That’s new for us. Most of our patients have chronic conditions that require ongoing care and medications, thus making them more susceptible to COVID-19. Therefore it’s important that they receive the clinic services they need to avoid going to the hospital.”

“The Community Care Clinic provides a critical service to the community at this time. My brother has diabetes and has been very sick. Under Dr. Amy Wilson’s care, he has shown great improvement. I want to thank the Community Care Clinic from the bottom of my heart for the lifesaving medical care he’s received,” Holly Lawson, sister of a Community Care Clinic patient.

The clinic has an online application that allows uninsured individuals to apply to become a patient without having to physically come into the clinic. “We are preparing for the influx of patients as a result of the astounding number of job losses in our community. Our goal is to meet these needs thru a combination of virtual and on-site visits,” says Woolly.

As COVID-19 continues to cause national and local issues for the health care system, local free and charitable clinics hope to continue to provide reliable resources for the uninsured.

“So many people in our community are working less or have lost their jobs and need medical care and medications,” Woolly said. “We are here to help our neighbors, to care for our neighbors and to treat our neighbors like family.”

This article was originally published at WBTV.com