CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — There is a COVID-19 outbreak at a Charleston men’s shelter. Many agencies are working together to keep the outbreak at the Roark Sullivan Lifeway Center contained. So far there are nine people who have tested positive for COVID-19.
Leaders there say the first positive was discovered Tuesday morning and by 3 p.m. that afternoon all residents and staff in the facility were tested.
“We tried to see about getting checked for COVID because we’ve been around these people,” said Sam Barton who lives on the streets of Charleston, WV. He said he is concerned about the outbreak at the shelter and said the people he has talked to inside are frustrated by having to stay isolated.
“They are used to being able to come out and run around and do what they need to do out here and they can’t go nowhere,” Barton said.
The President of the Roark Sullivan Lifeway Center, Jessica McGuire said they were able to work fast with the help of community partners.
“We were able to reach out to the National Guard and get them here within a matter of hours and test everyone including staff,” McGuire said. “The health department and Dr. Young were wonderful linking us with N95 masks, gowns gloves, anything that we needed PPE-wise within a matter of hours.”
Dr. Sherri Young at the Kanawha Charleston Health Department said protocols for how to handle a situation like this have been in place since last September. They had a stockpile of PPE ready to distribute.
“Testing, making sure that everybody is well, making sure if we need to get somebody out for treatment or offering monoclonal antibodies on-site to people who may not be doing well or meeting the criteria, all of that took the lift of many but made a lighter load,” Young said.
Manna Meal is delivering food to the facility and people are donating snacks and supplies. They are also working with Health Right to make sure vaccinations are available to anyone who wants one.
“When you are living in a particular area in which people cannot be mandated to do certain things we can recommend them but we can’t force people to do things,” McGuire said. “The population we are working with is already vulnerable and have so much taken from them. When you are implementing something they sometimes meet you with resistance. At the moment they are working rather well with us.”
The outbreak is considered contained at this time. There will be continued testing in the days to come. That will help determine how long people there will have to be isolated.