New COVID-19 hotline created for underserved residents in Pawtucket, Central Falls

Blackstone Valley

PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — The mayors of two neighboring cities recently joined forces to create a program for low income and minority residents during the pandemic.

The “Beat COVID-19 Hotline” will now begin taking calls from residents in both Pawtucket and Central Falls. The effort will be led by Dr. Michael Fine, the former director of the Rhode Island Department of Health.

“We believe that there are about 50,000 people in both cities who likely don’t have a primary care doctors, so we want to make sure they have access to someone who can talk to them,” Fine explained.

Pawtucket Mayor Don Grebien said many residents in both cities are confused about the effects of the coronavirus.

“They don’t have primary care, they don’t have coverage – the undocumented- so people are afraid” Grebien said.

When residents call the hotline, they’ll be directed to professionals who not only know how to answer medical questions, but can also help break social barriers.

“This system will be able to communicate in Spanish, Portuguese, Creole and English,” Central Falls Mayor James Diossa said.

The hotline is based out of Collette in Pawtucket, a tourism company that has donated office space, resources and volunteers.

“The culture of giving back is part of Collette, and the Rhode Island community, and around the globe. That’s our culture as a company,” Collette CEO Dan Sullivan said.

The hotline can be reached at 855-843-7620.

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