Tents set up to quarantine, test Boston’s homeless population for COVID-19


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Those working with the homeless haven’t seen any optimistic circumstances of coronavirus amongst Boston’s inhabitants but, however, if and when the time comes, they are saying they’re getting ready for it.

Dr. Jim O’Connell, president of Boston Health Care for the Homeless, famous that getting ready to check and look after homeless individuals is totally different than it’s for the final inhabitants. Social distancing and quarantining don’t apply to homeless shelters.

“You can’t do any of that with homeless people,” he mentioned.

But there are different methods to proceed to supply companies, like shelters, to the homeless, and likewise take a look at and deal with those that could come down with the virus.

“What we’ve been trying to do is screen people,” he mentioned, noting that those that work with the homeless are screening them earlier than they enter a shelter.

Pine Street Inn famous that this started for each particular person coming into one among its 4 shelters on March 16.

For these both displaying signs and awaiting take a look at outcomes, or those that have been uncovered to a COVID-19 optimistic particular person, two tents, one for every of the individuals falling into these classes, have been constructed outdoors of the Southampton Street Shelter. Inside, there’s precise beds, no cots, in accordance with O’Connell. Another screening space is ready up on the Woods Mullen girls’s shelter.

If a affected person does take a look at optimistic for the virus, they are going to be moved to BHCHP’s Barbara McInnis House, which has a separate wing arrange simply to handle coronavirus-positive homeless people, O’Connell mentioned.

Having a plan in place for if and when homeless individuals come down with the virus is vital, he mentioned.

“The time to set this up is before the first case,” O’Connell mentioned.

Homeless individuals, and those that present healthcare for them, have handled numerous illnesses which have run via the inhabitants previously, together with Hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS. O’Connell mentioned he’s involved that COVID-19 might “devastate” the homeless inhabitants.

“When it comes, it’s going to come like an avalanche,” he mentioned.

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