King County works to prevent spread of coronavirus among homeless
There is a sizable concern about King County’s vulnerable homeless population being exposed to coronavirus.
So, what can be done to keep that from happening?
The CDC actually has guidance on what to do, but the number one solution just isn’t realistic, according to King County executive Dow Constantine.
That first solution is to put every homeless person in an isolated, personal housing unit.
“We would love, of course, to have all 10,000 to 11,000 homeless people in individual units across the county and provided the services to keep them from becoming infected or infecting others,” Constantine said. “It’s not logistically possible right now.”
The second option is leaving existing homeless camps in place. That means not breaking them up to avoid moving residents around.
“Rather than dispersing people, we’re trying to keep people situated and get them the sanitation and other assistance they need to try and slow the spread of the virus,” Constantine said.
That’s been the focus so far for those who are unhoused and living outside. As for those in shelters, Constantine said they are trying to put as much room between beds or cots as they can.
They have also started moving some people to new places to provide more distancing.
“We have recently moved a lot of folks in the high-risk population from downtown Seattle shelters to a space in Boeing Field that’s much more spread out,” he said. “It’s not a place we can permanently shelter people, but for this emergency we can.”
Constantine said he is also looking at finding more hotels or other locations to house the homeless community.