Update: Feb. 17, 2022
The Samuel L. Jones Hall Homeless Shelter (SJH) has reopened to new residents following an outbreak of the Omicron variant that began last month. The shelter, owned by the city and operated by Catholic Charities, reopened on Monday, Feb. 14 following two weeks of no new positive COVID test results. The availability of additional shelter beds for the community, coupled with the opening of the new Safe Parking Pilot Program in early March, will allow the city’s Homeless Encampment Assistance Program to resume more proactive efforts to provide community members in need with shelter and services to help end their homelessness.
Original Post: Jan. 20, 2022
The City of Santa Rosa and Catholic Charities are working with the Sonoma County Department of Health Services – Public Health to respond to cases of COVID-19 at the City's Samuel L. Jones Hall Homeless Shelter (SJH). Catholic Charities, which operates the City-owned SJH, first detected 2 positive cases in the shelter on Jan. 4 through surveillance testing, and began monitoring the situation closely. Following COVID-19 safety protocols for shelter exposures, SJH immediately paused new shelter intakes and contacted the Sonoma County Department of Health Services for assistance and guidance in managing potential spread within the shelter.
The following is the latest information available on current COVID-19 cases associated with SJH shelter. This information is fluid and will be updated as new data is confirmed.
Updated: Feb. 2, 2022:
- # of total potential shelter resident exposures: 121
- # of confirmed positive cases: 43
- Date of most recent positive test result: Jan. 25
Efforts to Address COVID Cases at SJH
The current outbreak of COVID-19 cases in SJH is not unlike other outbreaks affecting congregate settings (such as schools, jails, etc.) across Sonoma County, presumably fueled by the omicron variant. The increase in cases is putting a strain on all levels of the COVID response, including testing availability, test result turnaround time, and suitable options for isolation and quarantine. Despite these challenges, testing of all shelter residents continues to monitor and manage potential spread within the shelter. New intakes to the SJH Shelter remain paused until at least two rounds of negative test results are reached.
On-going COVID-19 Safety Protocols at SJH
COVID-19 safety protocols were implemented at SJH in March 2020, including the screening of residents, conducting temperature checks, and required masking. Once vaccination became available, vaccination services were added, including vaccination clinics. In July and August of 2021, SJH experienced a significant outbreak of the Delta variant. Following this outbreak, the shelter reopened with enhanced measures in place to help prevent COVID transmission, including operational adjustments such as reduced shelter capacity, a new resident intake process, new procedures for testing, and coordination with the Alternate Care Site (ACS). As Sonoma County’s largest shelter, SJH provides emergency temporary shelter to those experiencing homelessness within Santa Rosa, regardless of vaccination status.