Cots being set up in the San Diego Convention Center in April. Courtesy of the center

Testing of asymptomatic clients and staff at the emergency homeless shelter within the San Diego Convention Center found 55 positive cases of COVID-19, the city reported Saturday.

All clients who tested positive will be moved to a local hotel managed for public health use. Staff who tested positive were notified and advised to stay home.

Frequent testing has been part of Operation Shelter to Home since it launched in April. There have been over 9,800 tests administered, and prior to the latest round of testing, fewer than 30 positive results over nine months.

“As COVID-19 surges in our community, we have also seen an increased prevalence in those experiencing homelessness,” said Deacon Jim Vargas, president and CEO of Father Joe’s Villages. “Sadly, these additional positive results are in keeping with the increase in cases we’ve seen in the larger San Diego region.”

The emergency shelter is a collaborative effort of the city and county, Father Joe’s Villages, the Alpha Project, the San Diego Housing Commission, the Regional Task Force on the Homeless and the San Diego Convention Center.

So far, the shelter has housed more than 850 individuals and 45 families during the pandemic with an additional 400 in the process of finding a permanent or longer-term housing solution.

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