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The busiest clinic in the 'Most diverse square mile in America' gets even busier during COVID-19 pandemic

The Clarkston Community Health Center has seen its hours lengthen - and its patient list grow.

CLARKSTON, Ga. — For seven years, the Clarkston Community Health Center has treated uninsured patients from underserved communities, with an all-volunteer staff.

Year eight is likely to look much different.

“We shut down the clinic,” said founder Saaed Raees after the COVID-19 pandemic struck in late March. “A lot of people who lost their job, they also lost their health care coverage, so it’s a big need.”

They shut the clinic down for two weeks. But volunteers kept volunteering. Patients kept calling. And the clinic received free services from a nearby company, ExamMed, that provides tele-health services.

These days, the building’s empty, but the clinic provides seven days a week of tele-health appointments and weekends of COVID-19 testing.

“Even though DeKalb County has free testing sites, those are being underutilized because people have transportation issues," says Raees. “We are able to offer – for free – testing for anybody and everybody who walks in.”

Some services don’t work through a phone. But the busiest clinic in "the most diverse square mile in America" is now even busier, a sign of how vital it has become.

"A lot of them don’t want to go to doctors outside because they don’t know who they’ll be encountering," says Raees. “We treat them because we feel health care is a right of every human.”

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