The Haven will remain open to the community members it serves, many of whom are more vulnerable to potential for contracting COVID-19 should there be any confirmed local cases in the Charlottesville area. The multi-resource day shelter has planned out various phases of protocol in response to the virus. Additionally, the weekly lunch café that is operated by Haven volunteers and some of its clients are on pause amidst the pandemic.
To prevent coronavirus’ exposure or spread, The Haven has laid out operating guides for its staff, volunteers and those are served by the shelter. According to Executive Director Stephen Hitchcock, they are as follows:
- Phase One, the current level of operations, means that the shelter will remain open. Haven employees and volunteers are advise handwashing when entering the facility and before handling any food, as well as following all recommended Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines when handling food. Communal surfaces will be disinfected hourly with bleach solution, and signage related to handwashing and prevention of the virus will be posted around the facilities. The Haven will designate low-risk volunteers to assist with basic day shelter operations and plans to contact the Thomas Jefferson Health District and local hospital systems to request testing and quarantine plans.
- Phase Two, which would be a pre-quarantine response if there are locally confirmed COVID-19 cases in Charlottesville, means that The Haven would no longer accept material donations but would still accept money through its website. It would request that at-risk staff, volunteers and members of the public to stay away and staff with flu-like symptoms would need to self-quarantine for at least 14 days away from work. Food service would be limited to homeless guests who access Haven services. To-go meals will be provided to visiting guests who have homes. Walk-in morning appointments would be postponed, and afternoon intake appointments would be operated by phone.
- Phase Three would be a quarantine should there be a spread within the Haven community. At that point, only homeless individuals would be allowed in The Haven and no outside volunteers. Staff would be assigned to meet core functions. The Haven would continue to collaborate with the health department and local health systems to determine isolation protocols for its guests.
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