San Francisco has experienced its first case of coronavirus in a homeless shelter.
Officials with the city’s Department of Homelessness announced Thursday that a resident of the Division Circle Navigation Center tested positive for the virus. The patient is in good condition and is recovering in an isolation hotel room.
Additional masks have been given to the remaining guests and staff at the shelter, which the city says will be thoroughly disinfected.
In a statement, San Francisco Supervisors Hillary Ronen, Matt Haney, Dean Preston, Shamann Walton and Aaron Peskin say the city has failed to take necessary steps to prevent an outbreak among the city’s homeless population.
But homeless advocates say they’re frustrated at the city’s slow response.
“The city feels like they need to have tons of support services in place before they can put people in a hotel… we can decentralize it, not having just the city providing all those services but having community-based organizations that are willing to step forward,” says Jennifer Friedenbach, executive director of the nonprofit Coalition on Homelessness. “They already know the populations, they know who they can place in the hotels. They’re perfectly capable of figuring that out so we just need to get this going.”
Supervisors are introducing an emergency ordinance on Tuesday that will require the city to use 1,000 rooms to relocate people who are currently in shelters, where practicing social distancing is difficult. The ordinance will also require the city to lease an additional 14,000 rooms by Apr. 28.