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Ronald McDonald House responds to coronavirus challenges

Enhanced protocols keep kids and families safe
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Posted at 7:01 AM, Aug 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-13 11:09:06-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - For families staying at the Ronald McDonald House, the coronavirus has made an already stressful time even more troubling.

"Absolutely," says Christie Kinghorn. Her daughter, Lexi, is getting treatment for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome at Rady Children's Hospital. They're living at the Ronald McDonald House for about a month.

"I know the coronavirus has been hard on everyone," she explains. "But to deal with significant medical issues and be seeking treatment out of state during a pandemic was very difficult."

To help keep their guests safe, the Ronald McDonald House put in new protocols throughout the facility.

"We used to have a very busy facility with people coming in and out throughout the daytime," says President Chuck Day. "Now, we've focused on our two critical services - overnight stays for families who need us and meals."

Day says the facility has fewer guests now, as fewer people are going to Rady's for treatment or elective procedures. Typically, the Ronald McDonald House has 56 families staying in it, with another 30 on a waiting list. Right now, they only have 25 families on the campus.

"The main thing was to make sure we knew about the family staying at the house, are they safe, have they had any instance of exposure to COVID anytime," says Day.

Before anyone checks in, they have to have a negative result on a coronavirus test. Visitors and staff also get temperature checks and health screenings to look for symptoms every time they enter the building.

Social distancing and mask-wearing are also strictly enforced.

As for meal service, Day says the cafeteria is now offering grab-and-go meals to families staying on campus. No one is allowed to eat in the large communal dining area.

For people who come by to get meals while they spend time at the hospital, the Ronald McDonald House has set up a cooler outside with bagged meals.

But all the extra precaution takes extra funding.

As part of National Nonprofit Day on August 17, the Ronald McDonald House will match donations, up to $315,000. They also have a wish list of supplies set up on Amazon and their website.

"We went out and asked people who love us, 'Would you help us?' And they said, 'Yes.' Now we're asking others in the community who know us to join in," says Day.

To help, go to