Guest at Wheeler Mission in Indianapolis tests positive for coronavirus


File photo

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– A guest at the Wheeler Mission Ministries homeless shelter in Indianapolis tested positive for coronavirus, officials say.

Steve Kerr, Executive VP of Advancement for Wheeler Mission, said they learned late Wednesday about the test results.

“The gentleman is not in our facility at this time and we are working on a plan that will be implemented first thing in the morning to dramatically reduce the number of men accessing our dayroom,” said Kerr. “We believe at this time the Health Department is looking for an off-site facility where we can move many of our men to reduce this number – sort of divide and conquer.”

Kerr said the guest was there for a few weeks and was asymptomatic. He wasn’t feeling well and requested a test. The health department was contacted and took control. The guest was then transported to the hospital for treatment and went into isolation.

The news comes just one day after Wheeler Mission said on Facebook that social distancing is “just not possible” for them right now due to the number of people at their shelter.

The not-for-profit organization operates in Bloomington as well as Indianapolis and serves more than 9,500 men, women and children per year. They previously implemented the following precautions:

  • Increased frequency and rigor of cleaning and sanitation
  • Multiple hand washing stations at all facilities (provided by Marion County Public Health Department)
  • Display of a recurring CDC video about ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19
  • Basic health screening of every guest coming to receive services
  • Set up of isolation rooms for guests who may display symptoms related to the coronavirus

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development has already issued modified distancing for shelters; cutting the CDC recommended six-foot distance in half.

Kerr said The Marion County Board of Health will be moving 55 men to a facility that they have located. They will staff it and Wheeler Mission staff will advise them.

Neighborhood Fellowship Church will also host 50 guests and will be use the church as a 24 hour shelter.

Keer said cutting down from 400 men to 300 in the shelter’s day room will reduce the odds of someone contracting the virus.

Keer said the Lilly Foundation has offered up a $5 million grant to open a facility to house disadvantaged folks who are diagnosed.

The Wheeler Mission says it is in need of hand sanitizer, wipes, Lysol spray and bottled water. These items can be delivered to the back area of the shelter at 245 N. Delaware.

Data pix.

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