Westside shelter continues to see major COVID-19 outbreak

Coronavirus New Mexico

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Mayor Tim Keller and leaders from local business groups held a news briefing on Tuesday, Oct. 13 to provide an update on the city’s response to COVID-19, the effort to provide support to local small businesses, and how the city is responding to the COVID-19 cases at the Westside Emergency Housing Center.

The City of Albuquerque reported 98 cases of coronavirus at the Westside Emergency Housing Shelter on Tuesday, 84 are residents and 14 are staff. So far, four people are being treated at the hospital. The shelter was not taking in any new individuals as crews were deep cleaning the building and shuttles.

The shelter is encouraging residents to stay at the shelter but are not forcing people to stay which increases the risk of spreading the virus.

“Some residents of course have chosen to leave but because they have been exposed just like anyone else it’s actually better if they stay in touch with us so we are encouraging that but they are always free to not come,” said Mayor Keller. Healthcare for the Homeless is out testing common homeless camps but those who test positive have the option to remain where they are or isolate at a partnering hotel.

Since the outbreak, the shelter is implementing a few changes including social distancing beds and reinforcing the use of masks.

“As of last week when this whole outbreak started we began to require, once we had the first case we began to require that everybody wear a mask,” said Dr. Laura Parajon, WEHC Medical Director.

During a coronavirus update on Oct. 6, Mayor Keller stated that officials will be providing free PPE to businesses as 11 local vendors were selected to make PPE for the community.

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