Homeless shelters working to improve social distancing

File photo of beds in a shelter (WBNS-10TV)

COLUMBUS, Ohio - As the number of Ohioans infected with COVID-19 continues to grow, local advocates are working to ensure some of the most vulnerable are safe and healthy.

Sara Loken with the Community Shelter Board said each night hundreds of people utilize central Ohio shelters.

“On any given night in Columbus and Franklin County about 1,200 people sleep in homeless shelters and anywhere up to about 600 or more are believed to be homeless on the street,” Loken said.

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Loken said those shelters - although safe on a typical night – could become dangerous with the presence of infected respiratory droplets.

In a move to protect those utilizing shelter services, other venues are now being used to provide space.

“We opened a partnership with the YMCA of Central Ohio to use their downtown historic building,” Loken said.

“We have opened the gymnasium and tonight 140 are sleeping in that gymnasium.”

Loken said the agency will bring another facility online to help with social distancing in a matter of days. A Columbus rec center will soon reopen as another facility to house those without shelter.

Coronavirus: What you need to know

There are now 34,208 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ohio; 2,080 people have died from the virus and 6,205 were hospitalized, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Breakdown of Ohio cases by county >>

For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up in a couple of weeks. Older adults and people with existing health problems are at higher risk of more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.

10TV is committed to bringing you a FACTS NOT FEAR approach to our coronavirus reporting. You can count on 10TV to give you the latest developments and the impacts on you and your family. For complete coverage, visit: 10TV.com/coronavirus.

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