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Hospitality House Manages Active Cluster of COVID-19 Positive Cases

The Samaritan’s Purse North American Disaster Unit out of North Wilkesboro has temporarily installed a mobile shower unit in the parking lot of the Hospitality House.

Hospitality House of Northwest North Carolina, in conjunction with High Country Community Health and AppHealthCare, is currently managing an active cluster of COVID-19 positive cases, both in shelter and encampments. In keeping with internal protocols, the family wing at their Brook Hollow Road facility is currently being used as isolation and quarantine quarters for those individuals living at that location.

Until further notice, Hospitality House will be limiting access to that facility to staff members, residents who presently live there and student interns. Additionally, any new individuals seeking entrance into their Emergency Shelter or Night-by-Night Shelter programs will need to show proof of a negative Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test result within the prior 72 hours. Rapid and PCR tests are currently being conducted onsite each Tuesday afternoon.

Individuals and families currently experiencing homelessness in the counties of Ashe, Wilkes, Avery, Watauga, Mitchell, Yancey and Alleghany should call (828) 264-1237 and speak with Outreach Coordinator Logan Shaut. Individuals and families currently at risk of losing housing and becoming homeless should call (828) 264-1237 and speak with Homeless Prevention and Diversion Coordinator Marnie Slawson.

“We are taking these necessary steps in order to keep our clients and the community safe,” states Hospitality House executive director Tina B. Krause. “Our diligence with sanitation, mask wearing and social distancing kept the coronavirus away from us for fourteen months; unfortunately, like many businesses in the High Country we are dealing with it inside our doors now.”

Non-resident community members who utilize Hospitality House Day Services – meals, showers, laundry, computer, telephone, lockers, and medical supplies – will not have access to the facility until further notice. The laundry room, public computer, laundry and telephone will be inaccessible during this time.

The Samaritan’s Purse North American Disaster Unit out of North Wilkesboro has temporarily installed a mobile shower unit in the parking lot and two port-a-johns are available outside for nonresident use.

Adds Krause, “We are grateful for the quick response and partnership of Samaritan’s Purse Disaster Relief unit to secure onsite showers and sanitation options for our clients living outside.”

Hospitality House previously conducted an onsite vaccination clinic, in conjunction with High Country Community Health, and were in the planning phase of executing weekly onsite vaccines through AppHealthCare, when the cluster was identified.

“We have worked to make sure that our residents have the opportunity to get vaccinated,” continued Krause. “However, due to the turnover of night-by-night beds it has made it challenging, as people come and go. We look forward to offering onsite vaccines once this cluster is behind us.”

Grab-n-Go meals from the Hospitality House Community Kitchen will continue to be served in takeout containers, along with coffee, bottled water and disposable cutlery, on their front porch throughout the day to anyone in need of a hot meal.

The Emergency Food Pantry, remains open seven days a week from 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. as a drive-thru service only. Clients accessing the pantry should remain in their vehicle and must be properly wearing a mask at all times.

“We remain undeterred in our mission and are committed to the health, safety and welfare of the homeless population in our seven mountain county region, states Hospitality House chief development director Todd Carter. “We operate twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week providing a vital safety-net for thousands of people in need. We are grateful for the collaborations and partnerships that are enabling us to continue offering these necessary services.”

Community members wishing to donate towels, washcloths, shampoo, toiletries, blankets and other items are encouraged to shop the Hospitality House Amazon Wishlist HospHouse.org/wishlist or drop off items at a table on the rear loading dock then call the front desk (828) 264-1237 ext. 0 making a staff member aware of their donation.

For the latest updates and ways to help, please visit HospHouse.org/covid19 and follow us on social media Facebook / Instagram / TikTok: @hosphouse; Twitter @HospHouseNWNC. To make a financial contribution visit HospHouse.org/donate or Venmo @hosphouse; CashApp $hosphouse or PayPal.me/hosphouse