27 residents at Santa Rosa homeless shelter test positive for COVID delta variant

Coronavirus (CoV). virus of the family Coronaviridae and of the subfamily Orthocoronavirinae. It is a pathogen of respiratory syndromes. View from a transmission electron microscopy (TEM) image. Viral diameter 80nm to 100nm. (CAVALLINI JAMES/BSIP/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

A vulnerable homeless population in the North Bay is experiencing a COVID-19, delta variant outbreak, Santa Rosa city officials said on Thursday.

Catholic Charities, which operates Samuel L. Jones Hall Homeless Shelter, became aware of the potential exposure last Friday when two people staying at the shelter tested positive for the variant. Catholic Charities and the city are responding to the outbreak. 

As of Thursday, 27 shelter residents have tested tested positive for the variant with 43 residents' test results pending. Most of the unhoused population had not been vaccinated, city officials said. 

The shelter stopped accepting new residents immediately last Friday and had contacted Sonoma County Department of Health Services when they learned of the outbreak. The shelter's staff members have also been tested. 

Residents who have tested positive are being housed in isolation at an adjacent shelter annex.

In the meantime, the shelter will remain closed to new intakes for at least two weeks. 

City officials said testing will continue at the shelter every 5-6 days to mitigate potential spread of the disease's variant.