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Only 12 homeless El Pasoans have tested positive for virus during pandemic

EL PASO, Texas -- Only 12 people within the El Paso homeless community have tested positive for Covid-19 during the pandemic thus far, according to the Opportunity Center for the Homeless. Three were currently ill as of Friday.

John Martin, deputy director of the Opportunity Center, said since the Delta Haven at the Chalio Acosta Rec Center and Delta Welcome Center in south-central El Paso have been set up by the city and the county to assist the homeless during the pandemic, 190 people have been tested out of the 815 people that have made their made through since mid-April.

With the help of the Office of Emergency Management, anyone who shows symptoms is provided a test and is taken to a local hotel where they're quarantined until they receive their test results. If the results come back positive, the person stays at the hotel for two weeks.

“All (of the cases) were caught before they went into a shelter environment," Martin said. "Therefore we prevented the introduction into other shelters within the community" which has been it's goal since the centers have been opened.

Local organizations like the Rescue Mission, Salvation Army, El
Paso Coalition for the Homeless, Endeavors, El Pasoans Fighting Hunger, the Paso Del Norte Community Foundation and the United Way, are all collaborating to make sure the homeless community is being taking care of.

"The very low number of people who have tested positive is a testament to the hard work and amazing work that's been done by everybody in this collaboration," said County Commissioner David Stout.

Stout said the Welcome Center has been extremely beneficially to the community, adding that there are plans within the city and the county to keep it up and running after the pandemic is over.

"There's been a lot of conversations making sure that is something that is present in the future," Commissioner Stout said. "It's been very helpful to intake people, triage them, find out what exactly they need and figure out where they need to go and who we can put them in contact with if they need other types of services other than (provide them) shelter."

Brianna Chavez

Brianna Chavez is an ABC-7 reporter/producer.

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