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COVID-19 outbreak at The Place youth homeless shelter

Posted at 8:20 AM, Jan 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-16 10:20:40-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — Two young people experiencing homelessness, who were staying at The Place youth shelter, have tested positive for COVID-19. Several more youth have symptoms of the virus.

Those who are symptomatic youth and those positive cases were immediately moved off-site with safe stay alternatives, most going to the City's Isolation Shelter in downtown Colorado Springs.

The Place is working closely with the El Paso County Department of Public Health to help contain the spread of the virus.

"Our priority is to keep youth who seek our help safe and healthy, helping them move on from homelessness,” says Shawna Kemppainen, Executive Director of The Place. “This pandemic reveals again that homelessness is a health crisis every day. The nearly 200 young people we know on the streets of our community have no home in which to isolate. Our work is full speed ahead, including shelter services.”

On January 4, 2021, The Place launched rapid testing to bolster prevention efforts for both the staff working at and young people staying at the 20-bed shelter located just east of downtown Colorado Springs. Extra cleaning and sanitation practices, use of protective equipment such as face masks, physical distancing when possible, and other protocols were implemented at The Place early on in the pandemic.