Updated: October 13, 2020 05:12 PM
Created: October 13, 2020 03:13 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Officials with the City of Albuquerque believe it was only a matter of time before a COVID-19 outbreak would hit the Westside Homeless Shelter.
Nearly 100 people, 84 resident and 14 staff members, at the facility have been sickened by the virus. One person has been hospitalized.
Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller said Tuesday that the city is still in a good position to manage the virus at the shelter.
"We've moved quickly to isolate these individuals, to do contact tracing and additional isolating, testing is needed," Keller said. "And to ensure these folks are receiving food and medical attention and time to recover."
Infected residents have been moved to hotels to isolate and receive treatment. Keller said the city is prepared to handle more if the outbreak grows.
"While we are very concerned and moving as fast as we can with these 98 positive cases, we are prepared for 650," Keller said.
Health officials said they started requiring everyone to wear a mask inside the shelter last week, except when sleeping. And with colder temperatures coming and active community spread, the mayor explained why they still wants people to use the shelter.
"Some residents have, of course, chosen to leave. But, because they have been exposed, just like anyone else, it's actually better if they stay in-touch with us. So, we're encouraging that, but they're always free to not come," Keller said.
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