13 Jul A place to heal opens April 1
March 2020 – Mahalo for your care and concern over the past few weeks as the coronavirus situation has begun to escalate here on Oahu. I hope you are each staying safe and making the best of this situation.
In these past few weeks, IHS has worked around the clock to prepare for coronavirus within Oahu’s houseless community. Although no homeless individuals have tested positive for the virus, we have taken critical steps to ensure that when someone does, we are ready.
This week, in collaboration with the City and County of Honolulu, Department of Health, Hawaii Homeless Healthcare Hui (H4), and Local 5, we will open a Temporary Quarantine Center (TQC) for homeless individuals who test positive for COVID-19 or are awaiting results. The center is across the street from our Women’s and Family Shelter in Iwilei and can care for up to 52 individuals at any given time. IHS will receive referrals of clients through the State of Hawaii CARES hotline, provide case management services, and offer 24/7 onsite coordination of operations. H4 will provide clinical treatment and COVID-19 testing. Local 5 will provide housekeeping, food service and security. Together, we’ve been planning, coordinating, and mobilizing for the building’s rapid re-launch this week.
We will be doing additional outreach to our unsheltered homeless. IHS Outreach will be providing food, hygiene and other essentials to help this group shelter in place. We will also help H4 test those who are unsheltered for COVID-19 so we can identify and separate ill individuals rather than allowing them to weaken on the streets.
Some additional measures that we have taken to protect our guests and the community include:
- Implemented daily temperature checks and assessments of all guests, staff, and visitors across our nine shelters
- Created a separate “Kupuna Dorm” to separate our most vulnerable seniors from our other shelter guests, which include many children and working parents
- Developed new spacing protocols to enable social distancing in our dorms and our dining halls
- Identified and isolated several patients with fever or other minor illnesses. Referred individuals as needed to Queens Medical Center for further assessment and follow their care.
- Established greater capacity for tele-health for our clients who need ongoing behavioral health services, case management and housing support
- Increased urgency to house qualified people as quickly as possible
- Expanded community outreach to known encampments and other locations to identify and educate high risk individuals
- Advocated to keep public bathrooms open to allow for more houseless individuals to shelter in place.
Our work continues to expand as the situation on Oahu and in our shelters evolves. We’ll keep you updated regularly on new developments. Below are two links to more in-depth coverage of the work we are doing. For real-time updates, follow us on Facebook or Instagram. Read more about how to get involved and ways to help in this newsletter.
P.S. – Read more about the new quarantine center in The Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Listen to this interview from The Advertiser’s Covid Care Conversation, which takes place daily on Facebook Live at 10 a.m.