As Los Angeles prepares for a storm of coronavirus cases, efforts to get homeless people off the streets and to secure rooms for patients to stay without risk of infecting others are off to an uneven start.
So far, Los Angeles County’s hastily compiled network of quarantine and isolation sites have largely remained empty, while its plan to add thousands of beds in hotels and motels is just getting underway.
The city’s 13 new homeless shelters, meanwhile, were 95% full on Wednesday, according to Mayor Eric Garcetti’s spokesman Alex Comisar. The mayor’s office opened the shelters inside city recreation centers in the past few days and, since then, has been hustling to convert more in hopes of lowering the threat of the virus spreading among the high-risk population in encampments.
After workers accounted for the space required for proper social distancing, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the city had to back off projections that its first 13 shelters would be able to accommodate about 1,600 people. The city found there was only room for 563 cots.
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