Christmas & COVID-19 at Wayside
Updated: Dec 29, 2020
Beginning just after Thanksgiving we experienced an increase in the number of COVID cases at the Jefferson Street Shelter Campus, 432 East Jefferson Street. On three occasions we tested the entire population of the shelter and found a 1% positive rate, that being clients with no symptoms but testing positive. At the time, this was below the state positive rate of almost 4% and the Jefferson County rate of over 10%. After Thanksgiving, we had one of our men in our recovery program return from a family visit and he tested positive upon return. We are requiring clients in our residential programs to have a test if they leave the main campus overnight, and this requires a pass approved by the program manager. When he got the positive results we quarantined his 5 roommates and contacted the health department. Health department officials worked with Nina on a plan to contain the virus. Since the first positive, we have had 11 more positives and each person was referred to the health department for relocation and isolation. To date, we have not had any additional positives but have taken precautions including limiting essential volunteers, quarantining 200 residential clients for 2 weeks, and we have had the health department do onsite testing. At this point, we think the virus has been contained and normal operations will resume in a couple of weeks.
Unfortunately, this outbreak, which is still only 2% of our population, restricted our normal Christmas programs. Instead of the Christmas Day and Christmas Eve activities at both campuses, we simply handed our gifts to the children and adults and prepared a traditional Christmas meal, as well as, a burger sack meal which could be easily distributed on the streets of our community. A limited number of volunteers were involved in four primary activities at Hotel Louisville, including:
Cooking and cleaning
Serving in the grand ballroom - to hotel residents only
Distributing to camps and people on the street
Serving and grilling burgers in the parking lot of Hotel Louisville
Christmas this year was about compromises and the clearer message of the birth of Christ was more prominent.
As we carry the joys of Christmas with us, let me share this message with you.