A Father Joe’s Villages donation truck. Photo courtesy of Father’s Joe Villages.

Father Joe’s Villages recorded an increase of COVID-19 cases among the homeless this week at San Diego’s Golden Hall and Paul Mirabile Center shelters, the agency said Friday.

The number of infections detected during regular testing procedures stood at a combined 97 at the two interim housing and care facilities through Friday. The homeless services agency attributed the increases to the spread of the highly contagious delta variant.

Father Joe’s administrators said they will continue to work closely with county officials to test shelter residents and isolate those who test positive for COVID-19, and adjust health and safety protocols as necessary to reduce the risk of exposure.

They also plan to encourage and offer on-site vaccinations, and provide any other lifesaving services to the homeless community.

The unsheltered will be transferred to county hotel rooms to isolate them, but in the meantime, Father Joe’s Villages will do so in a temporary structure on its East Village campus.

The homelessness population has lower-than-average vaccination rates due to general mistrust in and poor experiences with the health care system, according to Father Joe’s officials. They are trying to address the problem with consistent follow-up, on-site vaccination and one-on-one conversations.

“We continue to prioritize the health and well-being of those we serve and encourage vaccination,” said Vargas, president and CEO of Father Joe’s Villages. As an organization, we will continue to strictly implement health protocols designed to limit the spread of the virus and equip our staff and clients with health and safety services.”

– City News Service

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