CHARLOTTE — The Salvation Army is dealing with a cluster of COVID-19 cases at its Center of Hope Shelter for Women and Children on Spratt Street near uptown Charlotte.
The last round of test results, which came in late Wednesday afternoon, revealed 45 positive COVID-19 cases over the past two weeks. Forty-two of those cases were clients and three of those cases were staff.
The Salvation Army told Channel 9 that the individuals who have tested positive have been moved into isolation off-site for care and monitoring. In addition, all those who have been in contact or potentially exposed have been quarantined in local motels.
“The safety of those experiencing homelessness and our staff is our top priority,” the Salvation Army said in a statement. “Since the pandemic began, we have been working diligently, alongside our partners, to keep those under our care, as well as our staff on the frontlines, safe.”
Several organizations, including the Salvation Army, are working with the Mecklenburg County Health Department to create a plan for people who test positive.
Even before COVID-19, shelters across the city were at or near capacity. With many of them taking fewer residents, its fueling the population at Charlotte’s so-called “Tent City.”
“That is the biggest challenge, not having a place to lay your head,” said Jessica Gibson, founder of Just Do it Movement, INC. The nonprofit serves those who are chronically homeless.
Gibson visits the area near 12th and Trade streets a few times a week, handing out food and other critical supplies for people who sleep there. She said the group is a vulnerable population, especially with fewer places to stay, the weather turning colder, and COVID-19.
“We have been making sure our neighbors have IDs and have the things they need in the event they have to be admitted into the hospital,” Gibson said.
Many nonprofits like Gibson’s are working overtime to balance the need for the community and safety.
Since the pandemic began, The Salvation Army estimates being able to safely relocate more than 80% the people staying at the shelter.
Administrators say they are currently working to continue reducing the number of people staying at the Center of Hope and other sites.
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