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Central Florida Shelters Take Precautions to Stop the Spread of Coronavirus in the Homeless Population

Photo: Matt Collamer @breakyourboundaries4
Photo: Matt Collamer @breakyourboundaries4

Central Florida shelters are taking steps to slow the spread of COVID-19 among the homeless. 

Orlando Union Rescue Mission Director Freddy Clayton says long-term residents are required to stay in the shelter and eat in shifts to maintain social distancing.

Clayton says short-term residents are screened before entering. 

“We began taking the temperature of every man who enters our overnight shelter as a precautionary measure to determine if anyone might have symptoms of the coronavirus.”

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Clayton says even with these precautions, one resident tested positive for coronavirus earlier this week. 

He says the man’s roommates and other residents who came in contact with him have been isolated and commonly used areas have been disinfected.

Salvation Army Captain Ken Chapman says they don't have rooms they can use for isolation.  If a person becomes sick, they take them directly to the hospital.

He says the organization is following social distancing guidelines at an emergency housing tent on site that can house 50 people.

"And we have them more than six feet apart right now. As they stand in line for food. We’re serving them outside. We make sure that they are keeping the six foot distance as they check in each night."

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Chapman says none of the people they have served have tested positive. He says the organization will offer 24/7 housing once a stay-at-home order takes effect in Orange County tonight.
If you'd like to listen to the story, click on the clips above.

Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.