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People experiencing homelessness and other clients in congregate shelters who are not fully vaccinated* may be at especially high risk for COVID-19 infection and complications from it, especially those who come into close contact with others, or who are older or have chronic medical conditions. Homeless shelters, warming shelters and cooling shelters, and other shelters where individuals have close contact with one another indoors (congregate shelters) are especially vulnerable to outbreaks of COVID-19.
Local public health department staff responding to suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in congregate shelters should implement recommended physical distancing and required masking measures, increase ventilation to the extent possible, and vaccinate willing clients and staff to reduce the risk of transmission.
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 such as a Project Roomkey site should be prioritized 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).
To mitigate the risk of COVID-19 for employees, employers are subject to the
State Public Health Officer Order for Health Care Workers in High-Risk Settings. Employers subject to the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) must comply with those requirements. In some workplaces the Cal/OSHA Aerosol Transmissible Diseases (ATD) Standard (PDF) is also applicable. Facilities should follow the CDPH and Local Health Jurisdiction recommendations where they may exceed the Cal/OSHA standards.
Non-congregate housing resources, such as Project Roomkey, are recommended and should be prioritized for:
Wear gloves.Handle trash bags by their empty upper sections and do not hold against body.
Do not shake dirty laundry; this minimizes the possibility of dispersing virus, if present, through the air. Wash items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.Launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely.Dirty laundry that has been in contact with an infectious person can be washed with the laundry of other people.Clean and disinfect hampers or other carts for transporting laundry according to guidance above for hard or soft surfaces.
Diagnostic screening testing is required for all unvaccinated staff and volunteers at least once per week under the
State Public Health Officer Order for Health Care Workers in High-Risk Settings.
Anyone reporting one or more
symptoms of COVID-19 (that cannot be explained by a pre-existing condition) or has a measured temperature of 100.4°F/38°C or higher should be isolated and
tested.Designate a limited number of staff members to conduct screening. If social distancing or barrier/partition controls cannot be put in place during screening, PPE should be used when within 6 feet of a client. PPE should include a respirator, eye protection (goggles or disposable face shield that fully covers the front and sides of the face), and a single pair of disposable gloves. Gowns are not routinely required for staff performing screening. Additional CDC information about PPE is available.In addition to
regular screening, encourage clients who develop symptoms to report those symptoms to designated staff member(s) as soon as possible.Clients may be screened with a
questionnaire (PDF) regarding COVID-19 symptoms.
Exposed clients are those who were within six feet of an infectious person with confirmed COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes in a 24-hour period.
Exposed clients who develop COVID-19 symptoms should be isolated and tested as soon as possible. It is recommended that all asymptomatic exposed clients,
regardless of vaccination status, receive testing unless they have recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infection in the prior 90 days.Exposed asymptomatic clients who are fully vaccinated* should be tested 5-7 days after exposure.Exposed asymptomatic clients who are not fully vaccinated* should be tested at baseline and every 7 days until no new infections are identified among this population for 14 days.
Exposed asymptomatic clients who have recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infection in the prior 90 days do not need to quarantine.Exposed, asymptomatic clients who are fully vaccinated* do not need to be quarantined, but should be tested 5-7 days after exposure per
CDC recommendations.Exposed, asymptomatic clients who are not fully vaccinated* should be placed in a non-congregate setting, if available, during their
quarantine period; such clients may be quarantined as a group separate from other clients.
All clients who test positive (regardless of symptoms) should be placed in a non-congregate setting, or if that is not available in an isolation area. This area can include others who have the same confirmed infection (cohorting of infected persons). If infected clients cannot be housed separately, they may be isolated as a cohort in a designated on or off-site area that is separated from other clients.
CDC, people are considered fully vaccinated:
This guidance applies to COVID-19 vaccines currently approved or authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson [J&J]/Janssen COVID-19 vaccines) and can be applied to COVID-19 vaccines that have been listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization (such as AstraZeneca/Oxford). Additionally, this guidance can be applied to clinical trial participants from U.S. sites who received all recommended doses of a COVID-19 vaccine that is neither approved nor authorized for use by FDA but is listed for emergency use by WHO, or who have received the full series of an "active" (not placebo) COVID-19 vaccine candidate for which vaccine efficacy has been independently confirmed (e.g., by a data and safety monitoring board). Currently, participants in the U.S.-based AstraZeneca and Novavax COVID-19 vaccine trials meet these criteria. These U.S. participants in COVID-19 vaccine trials can be considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after they complete the vaccine series, if it has been confirmed that they received "active" vaccine, and not placebo.