Coronavirus Update: New Homeless Shelter, CDP, Libraries & More
Keep up with regular news updates regarding Columbus and Ohio’s response to COVID-19 here.
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to include additional details on a new homeless shelter opened in response to COVID-19.
On Tuesday, March 31, the Ohio Department of Public Health announced 2,199 cases of COVID-19 in Ohio, with 585 hospitalizations and 55 deaths.
In Franklin County, there are now 325 cases, 47 hospitalizations and three deaths. Columbus Public Health reported 228 of those cases and 14 hospitalizations. Columbus also saw its second death reported on Tuesday — a 71-year-old man with underlying health conditions.
More updates include a homeless shelter for residents exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms as well as announcements from Columbus Recreation and Parks and the Columbus Divisions of Police and Fire.
COVID-19 Homeless Shelter
On Tuesday the City of Columbus, in partnership with YMCA of Central Ohio and the Community Shelter Board, announced that a new homeless shelter would be opened for men, women and families who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or have exhibited symptoms and do not need hospitalization.
The shelter is in a hotel, however, an exact location of the shelter has not been disclosed to protect the occupants’ privacy.
“Our homeless neighbors are among the most vulnerable. Our shelters are not built for proper social distancing, the key to slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our community,” said Mayor Andrew Ginther during a video conference. “What we are doing today has never been tried in Columbus.”
In addition, other actions and resources to assist this vulnerable population include the implementation of social distancing in homeless shelters and new emergency housing at the Downtown YMCA that will house 200 men.
Medical volunteers, nurses and other groups will be available to take the temperatures of those coming into the shelter, provide medical interventions and assist with behavioral health needs.
Michelle Heritage of Comunity Shelter Board said that additional shelters may eventually be needed, and will use different facilities such as dorms, recreation centers and the like.
The Columbus Division of Fire, the Columbus Division of Police and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office will no longer be reporting the number of personnel who have tested positive for COVID-19, as announced in a press release that called the number of cases “protected information.”
On Saturday, CDP learned an officer tested positive for coronavirus after self-quarantining at home. That lead to the division implementing an exposure mitigation plan that modifies staffing and puts at-home officers on call.
Columbus Recreation and Parks facilities, playgrounds and sports courts will remain closed through May 1. This includes programming, sporting events, classes and the use of recreation equipment.
The Columbus Metropolitan Library announced on Facebook that it would be extending its closure to at least Saturday, May 2.
For more information on COVID-19 in Ohio, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.