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Homeless shelters struggle with social distancing during COVID-19 scare

Ramsey says precautions are expensive, but the true expense would be losing someone at the...
Ramsey says precautions are expensive, but the true expense would be losing someone at the center to the coronavirus.(WKYT)
Published: Mar. 8, 2020 at 8:44 PM EDT
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Social distancing can be hard to pull off, but imagine if you are living in a homeless shelter.

The Catholic Action Center has people living in close quarters. Director Ginny Ramsey says there are 134 in five rooms. She says the center is taking precautions. They shut down water fountains and have a sanitation squad come four times per day to clean all surfaces.

"Some of that sounds like overkill, but when we have a hundred, well we have 200 people come in a day, folks who come and just have meals etcetera, and most of them are of the most vulnerable health," says Ramsey.

Experts say COVID-19 is most dangerous for the elderly and disabled. Ramsey says this includes many who stay in the catholic action center, and these people have nowhere else to go.

"Talk about quarantine, where are we going to quarantine here? You're going to be quarantined next to someone else, and if you have it, you're sharing it, so that's why we are trying to get an immediate response if there's any indication that someone has it," says Ramsey.

The response Ramsey has been working with the governor's office to provide is priority coronavirus testing for the Catholic Action Center.

Ramsey says precautions are expensive, but the true expense would be losing someone at the center to the coronavirus.