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Catholic Charities continue certain services amid coronavirus concerns

Man tests positive for COVID-19 while accessing services
Posted at 4:23 PM, Mar 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-27 00:21:34-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — UPDATE MARCH 26: Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada said it has operated at a higher degree of sanitation protocols and procedures since the onset of the coronavirus.

Wednesday, a man accessing the homeless services tested positive for the virus. Still, it also says it has taken extra precautionary measures to ensure the agency's ability to continue providing essential services.

"Many factors go into deciding any operational change as we traverse unfamiliar territory during this pandemic," said Deacon Tom Roberts, CEO, Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada. "We are steadfast on ensuring that we can support the health and well-being of our employees, volunteers, and clients at this time, and remind the public that many services will not stop as we continue pursuing our mission to serve those in need."

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Seniors will also continue to receive Meals on Wheels deliveries as the agency says it continues to produce and deliver 2,200 meals per day.

The free daily community meal, which typically serves more than 500 individuals in the St. Vincent Lied Dining Facility, has ramped up to 600 to 750 meals prepared and has shifted to being served outside in to-go containers, as of Thursday.

The Southern Nevada Health District inspected the agency's kitchen and food prep facilities to recertify the safe operation of the kitchen.

Temporarily suspended operations, including the emergency night shelter and Hands of Hope community food pantry, while the agency works in conjunction with the City of Las Vegas and Clark County to provide temporary and creative solutions as needed.

"We have been working closely with our community leaders on realistic and effective solutions and will do our best to keep our clients informed of any changes we are required to make to mitigate the inconvenience. That being said, we must put health and safety first as we endeavor to continue to sustain and provide these important services," Roberts said.

All employees that have decided to stay home will also continue to be paid, while those still showing up for work are being screened on-site to make sure continued service is being provided safely and securely.

All case management services, including adoption, immigration, and migration services, are being handled by phone while the English language program services being conducted with online classes.

The Southern Nevada Health District received a report of a positive case of COVID-19 in a person who accessed services at Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada and a homeless courtyard operated by the City of Las Vegas.

A man reported accessing services at the facilities while he was symptomatic, but not showing any further symptoms and no longer considered a risk of exposure to others, according to the Southern Nevada Health District.

CORONAVIRUS: Confirmed cases in Clark County, what's happening around the state

The district is working with the agencies to notify staff, volunteers, and clients of their possible exposure. These groups are being provided with information and instructions if they develop symptoms of COVID-19.

The health district emphasized that those most at risk for COVID-19 include people who have had daily repeated and prolonged exposure.

However, the risk is low for people who had brief contact with an infected person.

Those who are asymptomatic can continue to work, according to the health district, but if anyone develops symptoms, they should not go to work, and they should self-isolate at home.

UPDATE: Gov. Sisolak signs new emergency directive limiting groups in public

As a precaution, Catholic Charities will temporarily close its emergency night shelter for men. Still, the organization is working with the City of Las Vegas and the health district to identify a temporary site to relocate shelter services.

The health district also said it is working with the agency to ensure the continuing health and safety of its staff, volunteers, and clients.