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Considered a life-saver for many COVID patients, the drug Paxlovid---administered after one has been infected---has been difficult to obtain without speedy attention and good medical insurance. That's changing in Sonoma County where a free clinic is connecting the uninsured with the new treatment.
 
A dozen years after passage of the Affordable Care Act, care and access to it, remain a big issue. That's especially true in this case, according to Donna Waldman, Executive Director of Santa Rosa's Jewish Community Free Clinic.
  
"The problem with this whole situation is that it's very time sensitive. You have to have the medication within five days of the onset of symptoms. If you're unaffiliated with any medical center, then how do you get tested and treated within five days?"
  
The Montgomery Lane clinic was recently awarded a grant from state public health authorities to facilitate speeding the process---and getting the drug into the hands of uninsured patients while it can still do some good.
  
"Somebody would call us up, and they would say 'I'm having this, this and this symptom,' and if it sounds, like in fact, they might have COVID, we will help facilitate them getting tests, we do not do testing, so that they can get a quick diagnosis. If they test positive, than one of our providers will go through the criteria to see whether or not Paxlovid is appropriate," Waldman said.
  
The clinic provides vaccines, women's health, well-child exams and treatments for minor health problems. 
 
"Our services are completely free, but we are not a permanent medical home. We refer our clients to a permanent medical home in the community." 
 
To schedule an appointment, call 707-585-7780...or call 2-1-1 and ask for referral for the Jewish Community Free Clinic. And if you're not familiar with the clinic...Waldman says it's geared towards helping everyone. 
 
"We were founded by members of the Jewish community to provide care to everyone regardless of religious affiliation, immigration status, or income," she said.
 
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