Fulton closes five health clinics to prevent coronavirus spread

A health-care aide checks the blood pressure of a patient during the Care Harbor Public Health Clinic event at the Los Angeles Sports Arena on Sept. 11, 2014. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

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A health-care aide checks the blood pressure of a patient during the Care Harbor Public Health Clinic event at the Los Angeles Sports Arena on Sept. 11, 2014. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

Fulton County Board of Health closed five county health centers, citing fewer patients, said Dr. S. Elizabeth Ford, interim director of the Board of Health.

The clinics have operated with limited staff since Fulton County schools closed in March and Wednesday’s closures will make services more efficient, Ford said.

The centers closing are the Adamsville Regional Health Center; the Center for Health and Rehabilitation; Neighborhood Union Health Center; and the Oak Hill Child Adolescent and Family Health Center, all in Atlanta; and the North Fulton Service Center in Sandy Springs.

The county operates eight health centers in all.

The locations that will remain open are Fulton County Public Health in Atlanta, the College Park Regional Health Center; and the North Fulton Regional Center in Alpharetta.

The clinics offer the county’s 1 million residents access to medical and dental care, as well as mental health services. Ford said officials do not have a date when the centers might reopen.

“We’re holding on now,” said Ford. “We do an assessment every week of patient flow. It’s challenging because Fulton is such a large geographic region. We want to provide services for north and south Fulton.”

Along with the closures, residents who visit the three open locations are required to have their temperature checked and must wear a mask before they enter the building.

Visitors who have coronavirus symptoms will not be allowed to enter the buildings, officials said.

“It’s not optimal, but this has been a good lesson in how much service we can provide at a distance,” said Ford. “We are able to provide birth control where people grab their pills and go. Patient assessments are able to be done online or on the phone.”

In north Fulton, the Alpharetta center provides more medical services than the center in Sandy Springs, which was known as the annex, said Fulton County Commissioner Bob Ellis.

“At the annex, it was a little more limited in providing services for WIC [Women, Infants and Children] and children’s dental services,” said Ellis. “It’s not ideal to close any of these locations. It would be a little more concerning to me [in north Fulton] if they had to close the Royal Oak facility.”

Grady Memorial Hospital operates the annex in Sandy Springs.

Ellis is commissioner of District 2, which includes Milton, Mountain Park and large parts of Alpharetta, Roswell, and Sandy Springs.