SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — Santa Clara County is cleaning and prepping 15 trailers, the first of dozens, to be used to isolate and quarantine the homeless who have tested positive or are believed to be infected with the coronavirus.
“It’s really important that if you think you have the virus, or you do have the virus, that you segregate yourself from others. That you’re doing self-isolating. It’s very difficult to self-isolate and be sick if you’re living on the streets,” said Cindy Chavez, Santa Clara County Board President.
The trailers were issued from the State of California, and were initially intended to be used to ease the homeless crisis. The trailers, Freedom Select Express by Coachmen and Forest River Wildwood X-Lite, are relatively new but require some cleaning and maintenance work before they will be put into operation by the end of the week.
An additional 100 trailers are slated for service in the coming weeks, according to Chavez.
COMPLETE COVERAGE: CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC
Oftentimes in homeless shelters, residents are in close quarters, within arm’s reach of each other, and sleeping side-by-side.
Chavez led a tour at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds to detail plans to ease crowding at South Bay homeless shelters by opening up the expansive floor of Gateway Hall, and bringing in up to 80 people from the shelters, while maintaining the minimum six-foot distance in between each occupant.
Case workers will process paperwork and provide some services at the expansive Fiesta Hall, again maintaining social distance. The county is also utilizing motels and hotels to quarantine homeless people who have tested positive for COVID-19, but have are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms.
“We also want to make sure that the virus doesn’t run rampant through any communities, whether that’s a skilled nursing facility, a single family home that’s got a lot of people in it., or an encampment,” said Chavez.
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Over the decades, the fairgrounds have been the site of numerous cultural celebrations, festivals and concerts. Chavez says this is the first time she can recall the site being used for humanitarian relief.
“It really is not only a place that we gather to celebrate, it’s also a place that we gather to support each other,” said Chavez.
The trailers will then be re-purposed again to ease the homeless crisis.