New London opens isolation center for coronavirus patients who don’t have safe place to go

New London

NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH)– The idea surrounding New London‘s new isolation center is based on caution.

“For staff we have the mask,” explained staff member Tony Szramosk, who also showed News 8 the gloves they wear.

But the caution also extends to the greater community.

“What we’re looking at our site on Viets Street are people who would literally go back to a crowded shelter or would be at risk and outside,” said Cathy Zall, Executive Director of the New London Homeless Hospitality Center.

She says that could lead to more people contracting the coronavirus in the homeless population and beyond. 

The 15 bed facility opened Monday in a vacant former nursing home which is the process of being sold.

“The buyer also cooperated and so there is a closing date coming up but we are leasing it until that,” said Mayor Michael Passero, (D) New London.

There is now one person staying at the isolation center.

“The gentleman who came in yesterday was sleeping in a tent in the woods,” said Szramoski.

He came in with an upset stomach and a low temperature which has since dropped to a normal level.

Once a person arrives at the isolation center he or she is isolated from everyone in the building except for the nurse. The nurse is the only one who can go into the room. If the person wants anything he or she has to call on a cell phone to the reception desk.

Food is left on a tray outside the room so there is no contact between client and staff who come from the Homeless Hospitality Center.

“We’re trying to prevent people who are symptomatic or sick from going back into those crowded settings and the second thing is to ensure that the hospital can free up beds and get people out of the hospital who need to get out,” said Zall. “So that those beds are available for other people.”

Zall says if you have a home, stay home. This facility helps those who don’t have a home to keep a safe social distance. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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