COVID-19 outbreak at Charleston men’s shelter pushes health officials to act


CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – There is an outbreak of COVID-19 at a men’s shelter in Charleston. Many agencies are working together to contain the outbreak at the Roark Sullivan Lifeway Center. So far, nine people have tested positive for COVID-19.

Officers say the first positive result was discovered Tuesday morning and by 3 p.m. that afternoon all residents and staff at the facility were tested.

“We tried to get tested for COVID because we were around these people,” said Sam Barton, who lives on the streets of Charleston, WV. He expressed concern about the outbreak at the shelter and said people he spoke to inside are frustrated at having to stay in isolation.

“They’re used to being able to go out and run and do what they have to do here and they can’t go anywhere,” Barton said.

Roark Sullivan Lifeway Center president Jessica McGuire said they were able to work quickly with the help of community partners.

“We were able to contact the National Guard and have them come here within hours and test everyone, including the staff,” McGuire said. “The health department and Dr Young were great getting us in touch with N95 masks, gown gloves, whatever PPE we needed within hours.”

Dr Sherri Young of the Kanawha Charleston Department of Health said protocols on how to handle a situation like this have been in place since last September. They had a stock of PPE ready for distribution.

“Testing, making sure everyone is okay, making sure if we need to send someone out for treatment or offer monoclonal antibodies on site to people who may not be doing well or responding to drugs. criteria, it all took a lot of lift, but made a lighter load, ”Young said.

Manna Meal delivers food to the facility and people donate snacks and supplies. They are also working with Health Right to make sure vaccines are available to anyone who wants them.

“When you live in a particular area where people can’t be mandated to do certain things, we can recommend them, but we can’t force people to do things,” McGuire said. “The population we work with is already vulnerable and has taken so much from them. When you implement something, they sometimes meet you with resistance. Right now they’re working pretty well with us.

The epidemic is considered to be contained for the time being. Testing will continue in the coming days. This will help determine how long people there will need to be isolated.

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