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Lane County Tries To Help Those Who Are Homeless Amid Pandemic

Brian Bull

Lane County Health officials are reaching out to people who are homeless in the community to assess their needs amid the coronavirus pandemic.

At a news briefing Tuesday Public Health spokesperson Jason Davis said it’s hard for people who don’t have a home to follow the governor’s orders to stay at home.

The City of Eugene, White Bird, St Vincent de Paul, and Occupy Medical are sending staff to where people who are homeless are camped. They’re explaining Governor Brown’s order for residents to stay home and asking homeless people if that’s possible for them or if they would like to go into a shelter.

Davis says Eugene and Springfield are providing shelter beds to those who need them.

“And it’s going to be critical as we approach this that we do this right because the last thing that public health or any of our partners want to do is spread disease within that community and so that’s one of the reasons that we’re being very careful in setting this up.” Davis says, “Obviously, we want to comply with the governor’s orders however, we want to make sure that we’re not causing unnecessary new cases.

Davis says unhoused people who are ill but in need of hospitalization are staying in hotel rooms in some cases while they recover.  On Tuesday, a 5th positive case of COVID-19 was announced in Lane County.  Jason Davis said he suspects there are more cases here, but there is not enough testing available. That's why observing social distancing is so important to help flatten the curve. 

Rachael McDonald is KLCC’s former News Director. Rachael has a BA in English from the University of Oregon. She started out in public radio as a newsroom volunteer at KLCC in 2000. After reporting for the Northwest News Network and KAZU, Rachael returned to KLCC in 2007 as Morning Edition host and a general assignment reporter covering politics, the environment, education, and the arts. She was hired as KLCC News Director in 2018. Rachael departed KLCC in June, 2022.
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