Daily Breeze

Dozens positive for coronavirus at LA’s Skid Row homeless shelter, after all residents tested

The results comes after widespread testing, with 63% of those positive asymptomatic, said health officials.

Of the more than 200 people at the Union Rescue Mission in the Skid Row area of downtown Los Angeles were tested for the COVID-19 earlier this week, 43 people tested positive, county officials reported Tuesday, April 22.

The shelter was hit with its first case on March 28, and later saw more cases among homeless residents of the facility. Over the past week, more widespread testing was done at the shelter, with both symptomatic and asymptomatic people getting tested.

The results of 178 tests were delivered to date, according to Los Angeles County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer. Of the 43 positive cases, 16 percent were symptomatic and 63 percent were asymptomatic, she said.

All of the people who tested positive are going into isolation, and have agreed to be quarantined, she said. No new guests are being admitted at the shelter in order to control the outbreak, she said.

People who are still at the shelter are practicing social distancing and wearing cloth masks. Daily screenings and deep cleaning has been enhanced, Ferrer said.

Over the past two weeks, 184 people were moved to hotels and motels, many of them close to Union Rescue Mission.

On Monday, Ferrer had reported that 47 people experiencing homelessness had tested positive for COVID-19, and that 12 were at shelters. A total of eight shelters had positive cases, she said.

The county’s website lists three recreation centers that were recently converted into homeless shelters as facilities where people have tested positive.

One of those shelters, at the Granada Hills Recreation Center in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles city, went under quarantine after one resident’s test results came back positive in early April.

That facility now has 14 residents, according to the city recreation and parks website. After an initial group of people were re-located, there were more than 20 people left at the site, with residents being slowly been moved off site in the past two weeks.

Over the weekend, a staffer at the Granada Hills facility tested positive, so a quarantine that had been set to close was extended to Friday, according to shelter operator Ken Craft. The county’s list indicates the staff member was a “probably” case.

As of Monday, the two other recreation center facilities were Pan Pacific in the Fairfax area, and Denker, near USC.