At Atrium Health, we want to make it easy for vulnerable and underserved communities to protect themselves and others from COVID-19 by wearing a mask. That's why Atrium Health is launching a free mask initiative - to help improve health, elevate hope and advance healing - for ALL.

News | one month ago

Strategy to Contain COVID-19 Spread Among Underserved Communities Gets Major Boost with Free Mask Initiative

At Atrium Health, we want to make it easy for vulnerable and underserved communities to protect themselves and others from COVID-19 by wearing a mask. Learn more about our ongoing initiatives to keep these populations safe.

Atrium Health continues to keep a close eye on how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting the vulnerable and underserved communities around the Charlotte region. From the first days of the virus affecting the country, community health and infectious disease experts at Atrium Health have worked hand in hand to keep the health and safety of the underserved and minority communities top of mind.  

Knowing that one of the most effective ways to keep the virus from spreading is by wearing a face covering, Atrium Health has been providing free face masks at various system led initiatives to make sure that those most at risk have access to masks to help protect both themselves and their families.  

  • COVID-19 Testing in Minority and Underserved Communities: Atrium Health launched roving mobile testing sites in April specifically aimed at addressing underserved and minority communities in Charlotte. Using a nationally leading model of integrating actionable Geographical Information System (GIS) data with mobile medical units, Atrium Health healthcare professionals screeand test for COVID-19 when the patient’s symptoms meet the testing criteria. Patients and their family members are given a mask at these locations for added protection whenever needed. 
  • Kids Eat FreeAs part of Atrium Health’s ongoing commitment to addressing food insecurity throughout the Charlotte region, Atrium Health is offering summer nutrition programs across Mecklenburg, Union and Lincoln counties. The “Kids Eat Free” programs provide free meals, as well as masks to children and their families throughout the summer.  
  • Para Tu SaludThroughout the country, there has been an increase in positive COVID-19 cases directly affecting the Hispanic population. As part of its mission to improve health, elevate hope and advance healing – for all, Atrium Health has launched a new initiative, “Para Tu Salud” – simply translated to “For Your Health” – to further educate and inform Hispanic communities on ways to stay safe. Part of this initiative includes supplying masks and informing these communities on how to properly wear a mask and access one at no cost.  
  • Community ClinicsAtrium Health has patient-focused community clinics in Charlotte and surrounding communities providing services for all, with a special focus on those with limited access to health care. The clinics have been distributing masks to patients and their families when they come in for an appointment.  

“Through our deep and enduring partnerships with trusted leaders across our underserved communities, we have been working tirelessly since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic to bring culturally relevant education and guidance on prevention and treatment of the virus,” said Kinneil Coltman, DHA, senior vice president, chief community and external affairs officer of Atrium Health. 

 “We firmly believe that language and economic barriers should never stand in the way of keeping everyone in our community safe, and are always thinking ahead on how to keep our tactics as effective as possible. 

Atrium Health’s plans of providing access to face masks for vulnerable populations received a substantial lift with private-public partnership it is leading in distributing two million free masks to communities across the Charlotte region that are most at risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19, including African American, Hispanic and millennial aged residentsThis private-public partnership showcases how business leaders, health professionals, and government officials can work together to help boost our economy amidst a pandemic. 

The coordination of the delivery of masks will be a multi-phase plan that involves assistance from a growing list of organizations and businessesincluding Mecklenburg County, Bank of America, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, the Carolina Panthers, Charlotte Hornets, CharMeck Responds Coalition, Coca-Cola Consolidated, Honeywell, Lowe’s, Marand Builders, National Gypsum, Red Ventures, Wells Fargo, Latin American Coalition, Hispanic Businesses of Charlotte and many others.  

Details, including a list of locations and times when residents can pick up masks, are available and updated at www.AtriumHealth.org/freemasks.