Anaheim Officials Report Two COVID-19 Cases in Homeless Shelter Staff

ANAHEIM (CNS) - Two employees at a homeless shelter run by Anaheim and the Salvation Army have been diagnosed with COVID-19, but none of the residents have tested positive for coronavirus, a spokesman said.

On Monday, city officials learned the two staff members, who had flu- like symptoms and were sent home from the emergency shelter at 1300 S. Lewis St., had tested positive for coronavirus, said Mike Lyster, a spokesman for the city. One is a man and the other is a woman, he said.

“They are self-isolating and recovering at home and are in generally good spirits and condition,” Lyster said.

The shelter has 205 residents, and 34 have been tested, Lyster said. Officials are awaiting results, which are expected in 48 hours. The rest of the transients at the shelter declined a test, Lyster said. None of them showed any symptoms, he added.

The shelter has dormitory trailers that house 20 to 25 residents and each of the transients has an individual space, “which helps with social distancing,” he said.

The shelter has 25 modular buildings on a campus that allows for social distancing as residents get fresh air or exercise, Lyster said.

“This shows the challenge of coronavirus,” Lyster said, adding that shelter officials had been doing hospital-grade cleaning at the site and practicing all of the recommended social distancing techniques. All non- essential visits were canceled as of March 16.

The shelter also had installed more hand-washing sites on the campus and staff was regularly checking temperatures and monitoring the health of residents and workers, Lyster said.

If the shelter sees more coronavirus cases, officials have various plans to move the entire population elsewhere if necessary, Lyster said, including plans to move them into a hotel if necessary.

The city is planning to receive some trailers from the state that will help to house transients who fall ill to coronavirus, Lyster said. Orange County Supervisor Don Wagner said at the board's Tuesday's meeting that reports that the city had rejected the state's trailers were false.

Orange County officials told supervisors that some cities in the county have rejected 78 trailers offered by the state. Five cities have volunteered to take the trailers and they will be spread out throughout the county, officials said.

County officials are also considering putting some transients up in motels and hotels, and said sprung structures would be erected for healthier transients.

Elderly transients will soon be housed in the former Joplin Youth Center in Trabuco Canyon, which is expected to be opened in about a week.

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