In February, we had an outbreak of COVID-19 at Ozanam Inn Men’s Shelter and the Open Hand Kitchen. More than 20 clients tested positive over the course of two weeks. It started with one or two people reporting testing positive. People who tested positive in the shelter went to the isolation hotel. We reported the positive cases to Louisville Metro Public Health and Wellness (LMPHW). LMPHW came out to do an environmental assessment of the shelter and make recommendations. LMPHW suggested that we not fill any empty beds until we didn’t have any positive cases. LMPHW did testing in the shelter for 3 weeks. On the third week, we didn’t have any positive cases and were allowed to fill beds again. However, LMPHW suggested that we further reduce the number of beds to allow for social distancing. We now have a total capacity of 50 overnight beds. Luckily, most staff at Ozanam had been vaccinated so we only had one positive staff member at Ozanam. Overall, this is the situation we’ve been dreading but LMPHW was easy to collaborate with and we had an excellent set of plans and procedures to follow. Everything went as smoothly as possible.
St. Vincent de Paul Louisville collaborated with LMPHW to transport clients to the LouVax site at Broadbent Arena to get vaccinated on March 2. We transported 10 clients from Ozanam, the DV TH to RRH project, and Waypoint House. LMPHW allowed any 1A staff members who had not received their vaccine to go at that time as well and we were able to get several employees on the van who had issues with transportation or accessing an appointment. We have a follow up appointment for everyone to get their 2nd vaccination and are hoping to schedule additional transportation so that clients who were not vaccinated in the first round have another opportunity.
The Open Hand Kitchen also closed during the outbreak in February due to staff testing positive at that time. We had many partners who helped supply food to people at Ozanam Inn, Waypoint House and our DV Transitional Housing facility. Many thanks to Dare to Care, Little Caesars, and Fazoli’s.