Initially, the focus has been on travelers. Now the City of Lubbock is also looking at how to protect the city's most vulnerable populations against COVID-19, including people who are homeless.
Chris Moore, the executive director of Grace Campus, a transitional homeless shelter, said the shelter has taken several steps to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, including stopping all on-site volunteers. Moore said this step has been painful, however, because the shelter relies heavily on volunteers.
"To protect the volunteers as well as the campus, that's a big thing," Moore said. "When somebody comes in looking for shelter, we're checking for fever, we're checking to see if they have a temperature."
In addition, the campus has implemented social distancing and stricter guidelines on hygiene.
"We have a complete row of houses, in case someone comes down with symptoms, or an actual positive case, which hopefully does not happen, we have separation for that," Moore said.
]The shelter has been working with the city, learning how to best protect its clients.
Katherine Wells, the city's public health director, said her office met with several providers Tuesday afternoon to discuss how they can protect their employees and the people they are serving.
"And that's kind of monitoring the health status of individuals. Some places might start taking temps of people coming in the door. If they have a temperature, they might put them in a different area," Wells said.
Homeless people are a vulnerable population, Wells said, especially if they struggle with other health problems.
"Say you have uncontrolled diabetes, Wells said. "So a homeless person who has that, plus getting COVID-19, that can actually be more of an issue than a younger person without any issues or without any other health concerns."
Wells said her office is watching what is happening in other cities and identifying who is most at risk in our area, as well as how to help those who might not have a home to return to if they are hospitalized with COVID-19.
For now Moore, said the campus is doing it what it can to educate and protect the people they serve.