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COVID-19 cases surge at Convention Center shelter

Posted at 12:06 AM, Dec 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-12 17:37:24-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — More people have tested positive at the San Diego Convention Center, which has been serving as a shelter for San Diego's homeless since April.

Regular testing has been conducted at the Convention Center since the shelter opened, but there was a rise in positive cases starting with tests administered on Dec. 3. Since then, there have been 120 positive cases detected. According to city officials, 115 are clients and five are staff members.

Prior to Dec. 3, the city says there had been 27 positive cases since April.

Dr. Eric McDonald, medical director of the County Health and Human Services Agency's Epidemiology and Immunization Branch, released the following statement:

"The increased case counts amongst persons experiencing homelessness is not unexpected given the recent surge in cases throughout the County. Anyone in a congregate setting is at higher risk than those who can stay at home.

The precautions in place at the Convention Center for people experiencing homelessness are excellent and clearly picked up on the cases early. Among the cases that have been recently detected, nearly all have been able to stay in County-supplied hotel isolation, outside the hospital.

As we have seen among new cases throughout the County, one very contagious person who is 'social' can lead to a lot of other cases, and that may be what happened in this outbreak."

The protocols at the convention center have been in line with public health guidelines since the beginning, according to Ashley Bailey, a spokesperson for the city. She says they've been reviewing them with the County to make sure they are adequate or exceed the current situation's needs.

The County has also put in place a public health strike team to do more frequent testing and quickly transporting any positive individuals and close contacts to off-site public health rooms, according to Bailey.

Everyone working and living in the shelter is being tested, even those who are asymptomatic. Another round of testing will occur as soon as Monday.