In less than a week, at least 80 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus the San Diego Convention Center while it's being used to house the homeless amid the coronavirus pandemic, the city said Monday.
At least 50 cases connected to the facility were reported on Saturday from tests given on Dec. 3. On Monday, the city reported another 26 positives from tests administered on Dec. 5. Another round of testing was conducted on Monday but the results were not yet available.
The city did not clarify how many positive cases were among staff and how many were among the homeless population, though both groups are tested regularly.
More than 870 homeless individuals, which the city refers to as clients, are being sheltered at the San Diego Convention Center through the city's Shelter to Home program, which launched in April to keep the vulnerable population safe amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Since the program was established, 107 staff and clients have tested positive for the coronavirus. The last week's surge in cases is the largest reported to date, though Mayor Kevin Faulconer said in March that they were prepared for the inevitability of an increase in cases among the homeless population.
"The recent positive test results are not unexpected given the surge seen throughout the region, the state and the country," city spokesperson Ashley Bailey said.
On Monday, San Diego County reported nearly 2,000 new COVID-19 cases and a 14-day average of 7.8%, both significantly higher than they were a month ago.
All sheltered individuals and staff are tested daily, according to the city. Clients are required to wash and sanitize hands each time they enter the facility. Face coverings are required.
If a member of the facility exhibits symptoms, they are transferred off-site. The city said those who test positive are transferred to an isolation area until they can be moved into one of the hundreds of public health hotel rooms secured by the County of San Diego to house individuals unable to isolate on their own. About 176 individuals a day were being housed in public health hotel rooms, according to the county's 7-day average.