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Springs Rescue Mission confirms first COVID-19 outbreak

Posted at 10:44 AM, Dec 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-09 21:09:04-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — Springs Rescue Mission announced Wednesday its first confirmed outbreak of COVID-19.

Officials with the mission said the outbreak began on Oct. 25 with 15 positive cases up to this point in connection to its downtown campus with another possible positive. Staff members and residents of the New Life program are among the positives and the homeless population will be evaluated "and will be reported upon proper vetting by county and state health agencies."

"We knew that as cases began sweeping the nation, it would be only a matter of time before we started seeing positives," said CEO Jack Briggs in a release. "We take this very seriously and will continue to do everything we can to keep our city's most vulnerable men and women healthy, safe and sheltered."

A homeless isolation shelter opened in Colorado Springs earlier this year to serve those who tested positive for the virus or showed symptoms but who do not need hospitalization.

People who were showing symptoms at the Springs Rescue Mission were directed to the isolation shelter for testing with 200 people using the shelter since it opened. The mission said a "vast majority" did not test positive for coronavirus.

The Springs Rescue Mission has the following protocols in place:

  • Screening all guests for symptoms upon shelter entry;
  • Providing ready access to hand sanitizer and masks to all guests, volunteers and staff;
  • Increasing the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting;
  • Encouraging “social distancing” and other CDC-recommended selfcare techniques;
  • Implementing head-to-toe sleeping strategies in all shelter programs;
  • Posting signage related to and encouraging best practices in cleanliness and safety;
  • Requiring all staff, guests and clients to wash and sanitize hands upon entry;
  • Referring anyone with symptoms to seek appropriate medical attention; and
  • Requiring volunteers and non-essential staff to remain home/work remotely.

The mission continues to work with local health agencies and will take action to make testing available to staff, volunteers and guests.

"Since the pandemic reached Colorado Springs in March, Springs Rescue Mission has balanced the risk of infection with the urgent need for homeless services," Briggs said. "That balance became even more difficult when winter began."

Beds continue to fill at COVID isolation shelter at City Auditorium
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