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The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the uninsured community’s already limited access to healthcare. In collaboration with the HAVEN Free Clinic, a mixed methods approach was used to conduct an initial pilot study to collect preliminary information on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the health and social needs of the uninsured community in New Haven, CT. Qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted with staff members from two partner community organizations, and an electronic survey that drew on existing Coronavirus impact instruments was administered to 36 uninsured New Haven residents in both English and Spanish. Results from the survey showed that a majority of participants experienced moderate to severe changes in family income, stress, and access to social support. Having no insurance was seen as the most prevalent barrier to medical and mental healthcare among participants. Additionally, healthcare, food, and financial assistance were identified as the top three resources needed by the survey respondents.

The qualitative interviews supported the quantitative results as the predominant themes that were discussed included the exacerbation of existing disparities due to the pandemic and the increased burden on the community organizations as the trusted messengers of critical information. The interviews also provided insight not captured by the survey, such as the policies and residential status as barriers to resources among uninsured people who are also undocumented. The pilot study has assisted in creating recommendations for recruitment strategies to administer the survey at a larger scale. This community-based approach will help bridge the gap between local organizations and the needs of the uninsured population by helping organizations better prepare for future challenges. Subsequently, local organizations can use these data collection methods as a toolkit to assess the impacts of the pandemic in order to reevaluate, adjust, and improve services and outreach to this community.

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Community Health and Preventive Medicine

Health and Social Impacts of the Covid-19 Pandemic on Uninsured Communities in the City of New Haven