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Posted on: March 31, 2020

Update: Shelter residents test negative after two staff members contract COVID-19

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ANAHEIM, Calif. (March 31, 2020) — Follow-up tests of 34 residents at the Anaheim Emergency Shelter, a 224-bed facility run by The Salvation Army, have tested negative for COVID-19 after two staff members were found to have the infection caused by coronavirus.

As a precaution, the 34 residents were tested Monday night with results provided Tuesday afternoon. The 34 were tested after tracing the recent activity of and interactions with the two staff members.

Those tested had not shown any signs or symptoms and were tested as a precaution by the Orange County Health Care Agency.

While testing of the 34 residents was recommended because of their potential exposure to the staff members, the shelter’s remaining 172 residents were eligible for testing if they had exposure risks or signs or symptoms.

No one at the shelter, residents or staff, are showing any signs or symptoms.

Residents and staff will continue to be monitored.

There are no concerns for businesses nearby the shelter, an open-air campus facility in an industrial area along Lewis Street south of Ball Road. All are located significantly away from the shelter.

With no one showing symptoms, none of the residents are self-isolating at this time but continue to follow a high level of public health best practices.

The two staff members are self-isolating and recovering at home. Their names and positions are being withheld to protect their privacy.

One is a male, the other a female. Both are in good spirits and in generally good condition. It is unknown how they contracted COVID-19.

The shelter and the city of Anaheim have quarantine plans in place should they be needed.

The plans include isolating some residents onsite with trailers made available by the state of California and, if necessary, relocating residents to a hotel previously identified by Anaheim in the city’s planning for coronavirus.

As a potential temporary facility for COVID-19 patients, the name and location is being withheld to protect the privacy of those who might use it.

Anaheim Emergency Shelter undergoes daily, hospital-grade cleaning and disinfection. That will continue with additional cleaning and sensitization.

The shelter operates under a coronavirus plan overseen by Anaheim Fire & Rescue’s emergency medical services division and follows guidelines from the federal Centers for Disease Control and the California Department of Public Health.

As part of the plan: 

  • The Anaheim Emergency Shelter stopped all non-essential visits to the campus on March 16.
  • Non-essential trips to and from the shelter stopped March 16.
  • Temperature checks are done on everyone entering the shelter as of March 16.
  • Additional cleaning is done of doorknobs, railings, bathrooms and other highly touched areas, on top of regular, hospital-grade cleaning and disinfection.
  • Additional cleaning is done of staff offices and spaces.
  • Staff is equipped with personal protective equipment, should they encounter suspected cases.
  • Additional hand washing and sanitizing stations have been place throughout the campus.
  • Residents are educated on coronavirus best practices.
  • Isolation areas, should they be needed, are identified within the campus.
  • The two staff cases are the only known COVID-19 cases at Anaheim’s two homeless shelters.

The city’s second shelter, La Mesa Emergency Shelter, houses up to 102 people in an industrial area alongside the Riverside (91) Freeway near Kraemer Boulevard.

There are no known cases of coronavirus at the La Mesa shelter, and operator Illumination Foundation has an operating plan in place similar to the measures implemented at Anaheim Emergency Shelter. Illumination Foundation also has a quarantine plan ready should it be needed.

For the next few days, Anaheim Emergency Shelter will stop taking in new residents as a precaution.

With beds available at La Mesa Emergency Shelter and nonprofit partners, Anaheim continues to work to get people off the streets, where the risk of coronavirus and other health concerns are greater.

For daily updates on coronavirus in Anaheim, see Anaheim.net/coronavirus.

For information on our homeless shelters, see Anaheim.net/shelterplan.

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