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Eugene Mission Quarantines Guests With COVID-19


The Eugene Mission remains on lockdown after 69 positive cases of COVID-19 were discovered there last week.


Sheryl Balthrop is Executive Director of the Eugene Mission. She said they held a campus-wide testing and found one staff member and 68 male guests with positive results. Balthrop said the guests are remaining at the Mission in quarantine. The non-profit provides short-term shelter for people who are unhoused.  

“And it’s not just the sheltering piece,” Balthrop said. “It’s the good nutrition. It’s caring people that are around them that will urge them to get that early intervention. So, we believe it’s very important these folks are not out on their own and that there are people that are around and can get them the help they need.”

Balthrop said the outbreak comes after the Mission saw its first positive case about two weeks ago. The shelter had been lucky to be free of known cases previously.

Balthrop said there are not a lot of options for people who are unhoused. 

“I do not want this to in any way erode compassion for folks that are already suffering temperatures that are dropping, with rain, etc, that are fearful to access services because they do not want to be uprooted or to lose existing social supports etc,” Balthrop said.

Balthrop added the majority of their guests are over 60 years old and have other health issues.

After that first positive case, the Eugene Mission implemented its COVID-19 Emergency Response Plan. It restricts access to the Mission campus to staff and current guests only. All guests are asked to stay on campus until health and safety benchmarks are met and implements small-pod and individual on-site quarantine measures. The Mission is working closely with Lane County Public Health. 

copyright 2020 KLCC.


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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