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Updates as of May 6, 2022:
People experiencing homelessness and other clients in congregate shelters are high risk for COVID-19 infection. This population is also at higher risk of having serious disease and complications, especially those who are older and have chronic medical conditions. Homeless shelters and other shelters where individuals have close contact with one another indoors (congregate shelters) are especially vulnerable to outbreaks of COVID-19.
Local health departments should ensure that congregate shelters in their jurisdictions are informed about best practices and recommended COVID-19 mitigation measures. When responding to suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in congregate shelters, local health departments should implement recommended physical distancing
and required masking measures, increase ventilation to the extent possible,
vaccinate willing clients and staff who are unvaccinated,
have not completed a primary series, or are not boosted if booster-eligible,
and refer appropriate clients for treatment with recommended post-exposure
The following recommendations are intended to assist congregate shelter operators to mitigate the risk from COVID-19 infection for clients and visitors. When possible, the use of alternative housing sites or non-congregate settings should be considered in lieu of congregate shelters.
Please see the November 3, 2021 CDC guidance for detailed information:
Interim Guidance for Homeless Service Providers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
In the workplace, employers are subject to the
Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) and should also refer to
Cal/OSHA FAQs, or in some workplaces the
Cal/OSHA Aerosol Transmissible Diseases (ATD) Standard (PDF), and should consult those regulations for additional applicable requirements.
Local health jurisdictions may be more restrictive than this statewide guidance in determining recommendations and requirements based on local circumstances or during certain situations that may require more restrictive requirements (for example, during active outbreaks).
When isolation and quarantine cannot be provided safely on-site, non-congregate housing resources, such as Project Roomkey, should be prioritized first for those who test positive for current COVID-19 infection (regardless of vaccination status or prior infection), for isolation. Non-congregate housing should also be prioritized for:
Masking by staff, volunteers, and clients is currently required per
CDPH mask guidance (and may also be subject to local requirements), regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status or prior infection, unless sleeping, bathing/showering, or eating/drinking.
Shelters should ensure that a supply of masks is available to distribute to anyone who arrives without one and should supply respirators (N95, KN95, KF94) or surgical masks to clients or visitors if feasible, to provide better protection.
State Public Health Officer Order for Health Care Workers in High-Risk Settings for any requirements for diagnostic screening testing of staff and volunteers.
Follow CDPH Guidance for Local Health Jurisdictions on Isolation and Quarantine of the General Public recommendations for testing and quarantine of clients following an exposure.