San Diego Convention Center

2 Homeless Individuals at Convention Center Test Positive for COVID-19

Out of the 660 tests that have been administered only two have come back positive, the county said

Preparations to house unsheltered individuals at the San Diego Convention Center in April 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic.

Two individuals at the emergency homeless shelter at the San Diego Convention Center tested positive for COVID-19, the City of San Diego said.

Testing began on April 16 to identify asymptomatic residents, staff, or volunteers who may be infected but show no symptoms. Out of the 660 tests that have been administered only two have come back positive, the city said.

Public health investigators are working with shelter staff to determine if there are any significant exposures at the Convention Center that may call for retesting or evaluations, the city said.

One individual was taken to a local hotel managed by the county of San Diego. The second individual left the facility after attempts to counsel and coordinate transportation to a hotel room to isolate, but was later found and placed in a hotel room, the city said.

“A Public Health Order for isolation has been issued for this individual. Homeless Outreach Teams and shelter providers will isolate this person as soon as they are located,” the city said in a release.

Operation Shelter to Home launched on April 1 by moving homeless individuals sheltered at several facilities, including the Alpha Project, Veterans Village of San Diego, and Father Joe's Villages.

Mayor Faulconer said the goal is to bring the total number of residents to 1,500.

A total of 663 tests have been administered at the convention center.

  • 458 shelter clients
  • 205 staff or volunteers
  • 2 positives
  • All other test results – representing 99% of the total tests administered – have come back negative with a few deemed indeterminant (swab sample was inadequate, and retesting is needed)

“All the planning and precautions we’ve taken at the convention center were to ensure that all our shelter residents remain healthy,” said Tamera Kohler, CEO of the Regional Task Force on the Homeless. “This was no different. Our teams followed all of the guidance issued by public health officials to isolate and prevent the spread of this illness to this vulnerable population. We will continue to monitor and test everyone to keep this shelter a safe place during this difficult time.”

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