Winter homeless shelter placed under quarantine for COVID-19
The winter shelter site at Community Hospital in East Long Beach has been placed under COVID-19 quarantine protocols, and residents say they are not being allowed to leave.
The city has been alerted to the quarantine, but did not provide further details. Paul Duncan, head of Homeless Services for Long Beach, referred questions to Los Angeles County, which is paying the operator of the temporary shelter.
Officials with the county Department of Public Health did not immediately respond to questions Saturday.
A person who is staying at the shelter said the outbreak started three days ago. He did not want to be named for fear of being asked to leave.
It wasn’t clear how many COVID-19 cases have been reported.
In a letter shared with the Post by the person at the shelter, Program Manager Louie Rodriguez wrote that the Long Beach Winter Shelter Program had been placed under quarantine as of March 17, and as a result, would be limiting the movement of guests in and out of the facility until Wednesday, March 22, at the earliest.
“Guests are being asked to remain on site until quarantine ends,” according to the letter. “We understand that this may create conflicts with responsibilities outside of our shelter, such as work schedules. This protocol has been implemented in consideration of shelter staff, shelter guests, and anyone they may encounter.”
Rodriguez declined to comment when contacted by the Post.
A program director with First to Serve Inc., which is being paid by the Los Angeles County’s Homeless Services Authority to run the shelter, also declined to comment on the decision to place the shelter under quarantine.
According to the person at the shelter, people living at the facility have been confined to their rooms or to the smoking area, and they are not allowed to leave the facilities to go to work. Guests are also being told by staff that if they leave, they will not be allowed to return to the property.
He said five people had left, and were told that if they return, police would be called.
It wasn’t immediately clear what protocols are in place for staff at the shelter.
Although the city’s lease with MWN Community Hospital LLC to operate the shelter ends on March 31, the two sides are in talks to extend the contract through at least April.
City seeks to extend winter homeless shelter at Community Hospital through April
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