March 17, 2020
Salt Lake County and Partners Work to Protect Vulnerable Populations From COVID-19
Chloe Morroni -
Salt Lake County – Salt Lake County (SLCo) is working diligently in partnership with Salt Lake City, the state, service providers, the Salt Lake Valley Coalition to End Homelessness, and other partners, to protect vulnerable populations from COVID-19 with a specific focus on individuals experiencing homelessness.
Staff at all shelters and resource centers in Salt Lake County along with outreach workers, are following the recommended CDC protocol by asking COVID-19 screening questions and providing follow up. Shelter and resource center staff are working to educate clients and prevent the spread of illness. Providers are encouraging handwashing, teaching the proper handwashing technique, and asking clients not to share items. Staff has also created as much opportunity as possible for social distancing within their walls. The Salt Lake County Health Department (SLCoHD) has provided educational materials including signage to illustrate best practices for hygiene.
SLCoHD is partnering with healthcare providers, primarily Fourth Street Clinic, to triage individuals who are displaying respiratory symptoms. SLCoHD has set up a tent at Fourth Street Clinic to serve symptomatic individuals. SLCo is putting plans in place for a second location for triaging symptomatic clients.
All emergency shelters and resource centers in Salt Lake County are working on internal operational plans including protecting the health of their own staff. SLCo is offering additional planning support through Hagerty, an emergency management consulting firm.
The county is also prioritizing the safety of individuals who are unsheltered. SLCoHD, in conjunction with Salt Lake City, provided portable restrooms at Library Square along with a handwashing station.
SLCo has secured two government-owned facilities to temporarily house people who don’t have a way to isolate or quarantine on their own. SLCoHD is not disclosing the location of those buildings out of privacy concerns.
All resource centers are continuously taking inventory and informing the county of their supply needs such as masks, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant. SLCoHD has fulfilled some of those requests and will continue to provide supplies when they become available.
And don’t forget, if you or someone you know has questions or concerns about COVID-19, call the Utah Department of Health hotline at 1-800-456-7707.