Napa County is moving ahead with
a new plan to try to protect the local homeless population and county
farmworker center residents from COVID-19.
On Friday, the county
announced it is leasing rooms at a city of Napa motel for an isolation center.
People at high risk for COVID-19 living in such county-run congregate care
facilities as the South Napa Shelter and farmworker housing dormitories will be
“It’s for people who are not
showing symptoms necessarily, but we don’t want them to be in a congregate care
facility,” county Housing and Homeless Services Director Molly Rattigan said.
That’s because they are
elderly or have underlying medical conditions that make them more likely to
contract and spread the virus, she said.
The county will rent 53 rooms
at $50 a day, plus utilities and other operational costs, Rattigan said. It can
use homeless service funding from the state to pay the cost. County officials
and officials with Abode Services, which runs the county shelters, will be
“Meals and things will be
brought in, so there shouldn’t be a reason for anybody to leave,” Rattigan
Rattigan asked the Napa
Valley Register not to divulge the location of the motel to protect clients and
security of staff.
In addition, the county will
establish a temporary shelter in a building at Napa County Airport for up to 42
people. This will provide a place where congregate care facility residents with
COVID-19-like symptoms can go.
Rattigan said the airport
shelter won’t be a hospital, but will be for the ill who are well enough to
Also, the Napa winter shelter
at Napa Valley Expo is open day and night, instead of just being open
overnight. Rattigan said that is to keep people there from going to the South
Napa Day Center at the South Napa Shelter during the day.
People who are homeless,
transient and/or living in congregate living facilities are among the highest
risk to contract COVID-19 and spread the illness to the greater community,
Napa County has released a
request-for-proposals for janitorial services at the temporary quarantine and
isolation facilities. Whoever is chosen must follow COVID-19-related
guidelines, including having employees wear eye protection, isolation gowns,
face masks and N95 respirators, the request said.
Elise Riley, a professor at
the University of California, San Francisco who specializes in the spread of
infectious diseases among the homeless, spoke to the Napa Valley Register
earlier this month about the COVID-19 risk to the homeless.
“A lot of people experiencing
homelessness are contending with not just one, but multiple pre-existing health
conditions – everything from infection to malnutrition,” Riley said.
The Jan. 22, 2019 one-night
“point in time” count for Napa County found 322 homeless people. Of that total,
132 were in emergency shelters, 40 were in transitional housing and 150 were