SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KRON) – The Samuel L. Jones Homeless Shelter will reopen to new shelter intakes on Friday, Aug 27 after a COVID-19 outbreak forced a halt in June.

The facility, which is owned by the City of Santa Rosa and operated by Catholic Charities, was closed to intakes on July 2.

It is now reopening following more than two consecutive weeks of negative COVID-19 test results among current shelter occupants and staff.

“We are relieved and grateful to be able to safely reopen Sam Jones Hall, following what has been an
extremely difficult time for our shelter staff and Santa Rosa community,” said City of Santa Rosa Mayor
Chris Rogers. “Since the first COVID cases became known at the shelter, public health authorities locally
and across the nation have learned a great deal about the Delta variant and its transmissibility.
Thankfully, our Sonoma County health experts have provided support and guidance throughout our
shelter outbreak and have helped us to formulate enhanced plans and mitigation measures, which are in
place now as the shelter reopens to serve the critical needs of those experiencing homelessness.”

The shelter will be reopening with updated precautions including:

Facility Adjustments

Bed capacities will be reduced from 213 beds to 126 beds, and bed layout adjustments will be implemented for greater social distancing.

A designated isolation waiting area will be established for symptomatic residents, those who have had an exposure, or those who test positive.

New Resident Intake Process and Ongoing Testing

All new residents will have to undergo temperature and symptom checks, and will be surveyed for potential COVID-19 complications. Rapid antigen testing will also be offered during the intake process to identify potential positive cases and to ensure individuals who test positive are able to receive the appropriate level of care. Ongoing, twice a month COVID testing will also be offered to all residents.

Continued Operation of an Alternate Care Site

The site, which allows provide isolation and quarantine for any residents who have been exposed to COVID-19, are symptomatic, or test positive, will continue to operate until at least September 30.

“What happened at the shelter is indicative of what is happening around the community and the
country given the aggressiveness and unique nature of the Delta variant,” said Sonoma County Health
Officer Dr. Sundari Mase. “The rapid spread of this virus is requiring all of us to be more cautious and
more diligent about taking care of the basics such as isolating when we have symptoms, quarantining if
necessary when we have been exposed to those who test positive, and getting tested. But the biggest
step we all need to take is to get vaccinated. Nothing is more important, particularly at this juncture.”