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More COVID cases at Salvation Army homeless shelter

Officials trying to stop the spread

BELLAIRE — The Salvation Army of Belmont County is continuing to battle the coronavirus at its homeless shelter.

The army on its Facebook page updated the community on its situation, noting the three residents who initially had been sickened with COVID-19 “are no longer contagious.” However, now the virus has spread to others there.

“With that said we unfortunately have eight new cases in our shelter. All non-shelter social services will continue … The shelter will remain locked down as long as we have active cases. We will try and start all worship and church programming in two weeks. Once again it is our goal to stop the spread and keep everyone safe,” the army noted.

The Salvation Army, based in Bellaire, announced on Jan. 8 that three of its 25 homeless shelter residents had tested positive for the virus. It said it was putting the facility on “lockdown,” but still continuing to offer its social services, which include giving people food from its emergency pantry and utility assistance.

Maj. Louis Patrick on Friday said the shelter residents are keeping those who are sick separated from those who are not.

“If we can get through this next phase, we won’t have anymore. … We’re trying to keep the spread down,” Patrick said.

Patrick said the residents are tested every Monday at a testing site on Wheeling Island run by the Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department. They receive the results each Friday. Since they have been going to the Wheeling testing site, the health department there has been providing them guidance.

Patrick said he was advised that after 10 days, a person who was infected with the virus would no longer be shedding the disease. Robert Sproul, deputy health commissioner with the Belmont County Health Department, said in addition to the 10 days of isolation, the infected person’s “last 24 hours must be symptom-free or symptoms greatly improved.”

Louis said donations for the shelter are always welcome. Right now it could use cleaning supplies such as Lysol or bleach. More disposable gloves are also needed, and additional masks would be welcome. People can drop off their donations at the door. Masks must be worn when approaching the building.

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