Santa Rosa homeless shelter reopens to intakes two months after COVID outbreak at facility
SANTA ROSA, Calif. - A Santa Rosa homeless shelter reopened to intakes Friday, nearly two months after it was closed following an outbreak of COVID-19 in early July, according to a city spokesperson.
The Samuel L. Jones Hall Homeless Shelter, on Finley Avenue, reopened to new shelter intakes and will continue to provide emergency temporary sheltering to individuals experiencing homelessness in the Bay Area's fifth-largest city.
The city-owned facility, operated by Catholic Charities, was closed to intakes July 2 after the COVID-19 outbreak at that time, said Adriane Mertens, a city spokesperson.
It reopened Friday following more than two consecutive weeks of all negative COVID-19 test results among current shelter occupants and staff members. The shelter reopened with updated plans and new mitigation measures in place to protect residents and staff from future potential COVID-19 transmission.
Mertens added that the new measures are based on lessons learned from the recent outbreak, which involved the highly transmissible Delta variant.
The city and Catholic Charities officials worked with Sonoma County's Department of Health Services to create the updated COVID-19 safety plan for reopening the shelter. The plan included operational adjustments such as reduced shelter capacity, a new resident intake process, new procedures for testing and ongoing availability of an alternate care site, or ACS, in Sonoma County to provide isolation and quarantine for any shelter residents exposed to COVID-19, are symptomatic or test positive.
"We are relieved and grateful to be able to safely reopen Sam Jones Hall, following what has been an extremely difficult time for our shelter staff and Santa Rosa community," said Chris Rogers, Santa Rosa's mayor. "Since the first COVID cases became known at the shelter, public health authorities locally and across the nation have learned a great deal about the Delta variant and its transmissibility. Thankfully, our Sonoma County health experts have provided support and guidance throughout our shelter outbreak and have helped us to formulate enhanced plans and mitigation measures, which are in place now as the shelter reopens to serve the critical needs of those experiencing homelessness."