Bridge to Home in Newhall has seen its first surge of COVID-19 cases among shelter residents, as 17 clients tested positive for the virus and have been transferred to a COVID shelter in Pomona, and the other BTH residents are quarantining, shelter officials said Wednesday.
The other residents at the temporary Bridge to Home Shelter location at the Newhall Community Center are quarantining.
Bridge to Home’s intake services department will remain open but clients seeking shelter will be referred to other shelters during this period.
Once a client tests positive, they are transferred to the Pomona shelter for isolation, observation, and treatment. When those clients recover and are no longer contagious, they will be able to return to Bridge to Home.
None of the 17 clients who tested positive displayed any symptoms before they were transferred, shelter officials said.
“From the beginning of the COVID pandemic, people who are experiencing homelessness have been identified as high-risk,” said Bridge to Home Executive Director Michael Foley. “We have taken the recommended and necessary steps to keep our clients safe and healthy, and we are fortunate that we hadn’t had any positive cases until recently. We will continue to keep our safety protocols in place and continue to provide the services and resources our most vulnerable neighbors so desperately need during this time.”
Bridge to Home relocated their shelter services temporarily to the Newhall Community Center to be able to have the space to provide the necessary social distancing.
Clients are required to be separated by 6 feet, in all directions, at all times. In addition, everyone is required to wear masks and temperatures are taken several times a day.
When cases in the region began to increase as fall approached, Bridge to Home enhanced regular cleaning and disinfection, and staff members were hired to solely focus on COVID prevention.
“This surge across every corner of the county has been truly profound. And while have taken significant steps to keep the virus at bay, unfortunately as the number of cases has intensified, congregant support environments such as homeless shelters have been impacted despite our efforts,” Foley said. “This highlights how crucial it is for the vaccine to arrive to all congregant care settings as soon as possible.”
With current clients in quarantine at the shelter facility, Bridge to Home is asking the community to virtually volunteer their time to lead activities and learning opportunities through Zoom. Bridge to Home also welcomes entertainers who would like to perform outdoors at safe distances, as well as books and magazines.
If you are interested in helping contact Volunteer Coordinator Randi Wyatt-Billings at Randi@bthome.org. Bridge to Home is grateful for ongoing meal service and hygiene donations which are accepted via contactless delivery.
To learn more about how you can support Santa Clarita’s primary homelessness service provider, Bridge to Home visit btohome.org or call 661-254-4663.
For more information on current shelter protocols and status, contact Director of Programs Chris Najarro at 661-463-5446.