Gayles Urges Residents to Not Let Immigration Status Influence Getting COVID-19 Care

Citizenship does not matter when it comes to getting testing and care for COVID-19, says Montgomery County Health Officer and Chief of Public Health Services Dr. Travis Gayles.

“Do not let your immigration status influence your choice to seek medical treatment to get tested for COVID-19,” Gayles said at a virtual community briefing April 2. 

“The medical community is open and if you meet the criteria for testing, please come in, talk to your provider, get that service and don’t let that be a barrier or a perceived barrier to you seeking medical treatment and potentially getting tested,” he said. 

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich said county-operated health clinics treat anyone regardless of immigration status and do not ask questions about it. 

He said he asked Gov. Larry Hogan to start looking at what the state can do in regard to assistance for undocumented people who are excluded from help like unemployment benefits. 

“Almost all these folks are working everyday and if they’ve lost a job they’re paying rent with that money and buying food with that money, taking care of their kids with that money. It is a hole in our safety net and we are working to try to fix it,” Elrich said. 

Other services that don’t exclude based on immigration status are the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Emergency Assistance to Families with Children (EAFC), and Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) meals for students. 

MCPS Superintendent Dr. Jack Smith said anyone in Montgomery County ages two to 18 can get three free meals a day Monday through Friday, as can any MCPS student who may be 19 or 20. 

Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security Director Dr. Earl Stoddard said Hogan’s Stay at Home order mandating essential travel only has no effect on how law enforcement operates on immigration. 

“Anyone who is in our immigrant community, do the things that you need to do that are essential. Do not change the way you’re doing them,” Stoddard said. Law enforcement does not and will not consider immigration status in its conduct.

Write a Comment

Related Articles