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Outbreak at San Francisco homeless shelter infects 70 people

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SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced Friday that 70 people have tested positive for COVID-19 at the city’s largest homeless shelter, MSC South.

For weeks now, San Francisco city officials have warned the most vulnerable populations are most at risk for the coronavirus — among them the homeless.

An outbreak at the city’s largest homeless shelter MSC South at 5th Street and Bryant St.

Of the 70, two were staff members.

Public Health Director Grant Colfax says the first two cases were confirmed Sunday night, those two were moved to hotels for isolation.

“Currently my department is conducting a massive testing strategy at MSC South testing all guests and staff whether they are showing symptoms or not,” Colfax said. “As of this Friday morning, DPH staff had tested 144 guests and staff. Of these, 68 guests and two staff have tested positive for COVID-19. At this point none are seriously ill, one former guest is in the hospital.”

Breed said there are usually 340 people staying at the shelter. During the course of the pandemic, the capacity was reduced.

There were about 100 people staying at MSC South Thursday night. Of those people, 70 tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

The 70 who did test positive will remain at MSC South in quarantine. The San Francisco Department of Public Health will send staff there to provide medical treatment for those infected.

“While we’ve had early success in slowing the spread of coronavirus, I want to reiterate that we are not out of the woods yet,” Breed wrote in a tweet. “We’ve been preparing for situations like this and we’re responding. But it is critical that people continue following the Stay Home Order.”

Those who did not test positive will be moved to hotel rooms, according to Breed.

While city officials keep talking about how they have been preparing for this especially as it concerns vulnerable populations like the homeless, that spreading out or thinning out of the homeless population at shelters has still not been completed. 

San Francisco now has nearly 800 confirmed cases and 13 deaths.

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