With the Omicron variant flooding New York Metropolis, advocates for homeless persons are bracing for a surge in instances at shelters for single adults the place about 12,000 folks sleep in barrackslike dorms that usually have upward of 20 folks in a room.
The operator of 1 shelter within the metropolis mentioned on Thursday that in latest days, 14 out of 200 residents, or 7 %, had examined optimistic and that the majority residents had not been examined in any respect within the final two weeks. Not less than 4 employees on the shelter, out of about 40, had additionally examined optimistic, mentioned the operator, who spoke on the situation of anonymity as a result of the town forbids shelters to speak to reporters with out clearance.
If 7 % of the residents of congregate shelters obtained the coronavirus, that may be over 800 folks, which might far exceed the shelter system’s present provide of isolation and quarantine rooms.
Present information on coronavirus in shelters is tough to come back by. Town releases it solely as soon as every week and has not completed so since final Friday, when it reported 82 new instances among the many 46,000 residents of the primary shelter system, greater than double the quantity it reported Dec. 2.
The Coalition for the Homeless mentioned Wednesday that it was seeing proof from speaking to shoppers that the virus was “spreading shortly” in congregate shelters and known as on Mayor Invoice de Blasio to maneuver folks from shelters again to the resorts the place the town positioned them through the early waves of the pandemic.
Mr. de Blasio mentioned the town had no such plans. “What we’re seeing to date in Omicron: intense surge however much less impression, and we additionally imagine it’ll be for a quick time frame,” the mayor mentioned on Wednesday. “So that doesn’t counsel doing issues the best way we did final yr.”
He added, “We even have a hell of much more folks vaccinated than we did after we went by the challenges final yr.”
Not less than 11,000 out of 20,000 grownup shelter residents have been vaccinated straight by the shelter system, along with an unknown however giant quantity vaccinated elsewhere, the Division of Homeless Providers mentioned.
As of Tuesday, the shelter system had about 70 vacant beds in isolation models, the place persons are despatched after testing optimistic or exhibiting Covid-like signs, and about 130 beds in quarantine rooms, mentioned Isaac McGinn, a Homeless Providers spokesman. Sometimes, if somebody in a congregate shelter assessments optimistic, the folks sleeping nearest to them are despatched to quarantine. Mr. McGinn mentioned the division was “on standby to carry on extra beds pending further wants.”
On Wednesday, Housing Works, the nonprofit that runs a lot of the shelter system’s isolation and quarantine models, declined to offer medical providers at a brand new isolation resort the town is utilizing as a result of the town was insisting on placing two folks in a single isolation room, mentioned Charles King, Housing Works’s government director.
At a girls’s shelter in School Level, Queens, one resident, Alison Gibney, mentioned that three girls that she knew of had examined optimistic in latest days.
“It’s a nightmare state of affairs,” Ms. Gibney mentioned. “There are 15 girls to a room, and I need to sleep with a masks, and that’s the solely time I’m not double masked.”