CRANSTON, RI – Crossroads learned late yesterday that an individual who works part-time on weekend nights at Harrington Hall and full time with another shelter provider has tested positive for COVID-19. This individual is currently hospitalized. This individual reported to work at Harrington Hall on Friday evening. Upon arriving at work, this individual’s temperature was taken and the staff member registered a temperature. The staff member was immediately sent home.
Even before the first confirmed case of COVID-19 was announced in Rhode Island in early March, Crossroads and other shelter providers have partnered to enact aggressive new protocols designed to mitigate risk and protect staff, clients and shelter guests. Specifically, Crossroads has directed employees with any symptoms to stay home, increased cleaning and social distancing, and enacted measures to reduce shelter hopping. In recent days, Crossroads has started checking some employees’ temperatures before they are allowed to begin work.
Crossroads is in touch with the Rhode Island Department of Health and the employee’s full-time employer. Crossroads has asked RIDOH for guidance and for its help to conduct contact tracing. Crossroads has also requested assistance to provide testing for all Harrington Hall staff, as well as any individuals who have stayed at Harrington Hall who had direct contact with this employee. Anyone who came into direct, face-to-face contact with this staff member will be directed to self-quarantine for 14 days. Through the state, Crossroads has arrangements in place with a local hotel for any clients who need to self-quarantine.
Additionally, over the weekend and at Crossroads’ request, the state delivered large tents to 160 Broad Street and adjacent to Harrington Hall for emergency shelter. These tents are heated and equipped with 64 beds (40 beds at Harrington Hall and 24 beds at 160 Broad Street to support Crossroads’ women’s shelter). The tents will allow more physical distancing. Crossroads began placing individuals in those beds this evening. Crossroads has pushed for “shelter spreading” since mid-March because the congregate nature of shelters could put individuals experiencing homelessness at higher risk of infection.
As state officials have warned in recent days, the state of Rhode Island is currently experiencing a rapid spread of coronavirus. Experts expect a surge and peak in case later this month. Individuals and families experiencing homelessness are more vulnerable to infectious diseases due to lack of access to primary care, mobility, and poor health status from extended episodes of homelessness.
Crossroads will continue to do everything it can to limit infection and protect Rhode Islanders experiencing homelessness. At this time, no Crossroads clients or shelter guests are known to have tested positive for COVID.