Coronavirus Outbreak Hits Portland Homeless Shelter

At least 20 people living and working at the Union Gospel Mission have tested positive for the virus since Thanksgiving meals were served last week. KGW's Maggie Vespa reports.

PORTLAND, Ore. (KGW/NBC News) — At least 20 people have tested positive for COVID-19 as part of an outbreak at one of Portland, Oregon’s longest-running homeless shelters.

Union Gospel Mission spokesperon Courtney Dodds says 18 residents and two employees have tested positive since Thanksgiving. One person has been hospitalized.

Directors first learned of the brewing outbreak Thursday evening, hours after wrapping up the Mission’s annual Thanksgiving feast. This year, the event, normally a sit-down dinner served to hundreds at once, featured individually-wrapped meals that people took to go.

“At that time, four of our residents in our long-term addiction-recovery community tested positive for COVID-19,” Dodds said, referring to the shelter’s LifeChange program. “Once we realized that we had some positive cases in the building, we contacted the Multnomah County Health Department and they came out on Friday and did a testing clinic for us.”

By Monday, the number had grown from four to 20. Directors halted all programs within shelter and sent staff home to quarantine. Residents are quarantining in their rooms in the shelter.

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