Apr 13, 2022 - COVID

Polk County ends COVID-19 isolation housing for homeless

Illustration of a family isolated under glass.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Isolation housing for homeless people with COVID-19 will end this week, Eric Kool, director of Polk County Community, Family and Youth Services, announced in a letter to providers Friday.

  • Few people used the service in recent weeks, Kool said.

Catch up fast: Polk County and Des Moines launched the program in early 2020 as way to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

  • Recipients were housed in a few area hotels to avoid them sleeping in crowded shelters or crashing with others while they recovered.

By the numbers: Just under 400 COVID-infected people and their families have used the program.

  • More than 3,800 nights of housing were provided.

What they're saying: Shelters or camps haven't seen high or sustained levels of COVID-19 as health officials previously believed were possible in the early days of the pandemic, Kool wrote.

  • Plus: Widespread vaccination availability and lower community spread has reduced demand for the program.
  • Two hotel admissions were used in more than six weeks, Kool wrote.

Of note: Homeless facilities will follow their own protocols and some will isolate COVID-positive people in separate rooms, Kool told Axios.


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