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A Person Staying At The Salvation Army's Downtown Shelter Has Tested Positive For COVID-19

The Salvation Army shelter in downtown Austin.
Julia Reihs

A person staying at its downtown homeless shelter tested positive for COVID-19, Austin Salvation Army said Friday.

The person was sharing a living space with 19 other people, but has been transferred from the shelter to a local hotel.

Corey Leith, director of communications for Salvation Army Austin, said the person showed symptoms and said they had a history of respiratory illness. The individual was isolated Wednesday before getting tested for the coronavirus. The result came back positive Friday afternoon.

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The 19 other clients who were in contact with the person are being isolated in one of the shelter's dormitories, which holds up to 30 people. Leith says Salvation Army Austin is working with the city to find hotel rooms for them.

Salvation Army says it has been emphasizing social distancing since March 4. It has spread out beds, increased the number of hand-washing stations and started offering teleconferencing instead of in-person case-management services.

Leith says the Salvation Army's other two shelters, including the newly opened Rathgeber Center, are taking similar precautions and have not had clients exhibit symptoms of COVID-19.

Got a tip? Email Andrew Weber at Follow him on Twitter @England_Weber.

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Andrew Weber is a general assignment reporter for KUT, focusing on criminal justice, policing, courts and homelessness in Austin and Travis County. Got a tip? You can email him at Follow him on Twitter @England_Weber.
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