Springfield-Greene County Health Department confirms COVID-19 case among homeless community

Published: Jun. 26, 2020 at 11:26 AM CDT
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UPDATE: The Springfield Greene County Health Department says, out of 74 COVID-19 tests done Friday for the homeless and homeless service providers, there were no positives.


The Springfield-Greene County Health Department confirmed a case of COVID-19 among the homeless community in Springfield.

Prior to being diagnosed, health leaders believe the case visited several local providers for unsheltered services in the past week. A coordinated community effort has been launched to help those individuals potentially exposed to access testing and other needed services. The health department's partners are aware of the potential of COVID-19 cases among the unsheltered population and have worked to have plans in place in just such an instance.

Health department staff set up and tested many homeless individuals outside the Salvation Army's Harbor House at lunch time Friday.

The homeless community spend the day at the Veterans Coming Home Center routinely. The staff locked the doors Friday. Director Chris Rice said earlier Friday morning it was too early to say if anything at the center would be changing based on the case. He says staff make sure the homeless social distance, wear masks, and use hand sanitizer.

In the meantime, the homeless say they are just scared, as they wait to hear where they may be able to get their next meal, get shelter from the heat and use the bathroom.

"We have no water," said Becky, a homeless woman. "We have to go a long ways just to find food. We have no bathroom facilities, no way to clean up. And we have a lot of concern about what we're going to do in this heat. We have people who are sick, and wheelchairs."

Community Partnership of the Ozarks and the Springfield-Greene County Office of Emergency Management have coordinated resources for sheltering and other needs. For those resources, contact Community Partnership of the Ozarks’ One Door Program at 417-225-7499.

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