Coronavirus: Homeless particularly vulnerable

There are 93 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in the Dayton region as of Friday afternoon, and officials said the public should prepare to see the numbers soar.

While there’s evidence that social distancing is slowing the pace of the spread, the illness is continuing to quickly move through the population, which has no built up immunity to the new and highly contagious virus.

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To keep health care workers safe, local health care and elected officials begged people to stay home as much as possible and to stay six feet apart from each other when venturing out for things like groceries. People should not be having gatherings either at their homes or outside this weekend.

“Please do these health care workers a solid and stay apart … I cannot tell you how important that is in the next two weeks,” said Mayor Nan Whaley said.

Friday’s cases were up from 66 regional confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. Wednesday and 75 confirmed cases as of Thursday. In addition, severe shortages in testing supplies and backlogs at laboratories are limiting and slowing the ability to confirm local cases.

There are 23 Butler County confirmed cases, two in Champaign, two in Clark, one in Darke, three in Greene, 32 in Miami, 22 in Montgomery, and 11 in Warren, according to the latest update from Ohio Department of Health as well as some additional cases recently recorded by county officials.

For the 22 Montgomery County cases confirmed so far, three of the people are hospitalized, according to Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County Commissioner Jeff Cooper.

MORE: What coronavirus means for local seniors and services

All four of the Miami County nursing home residents who have died in the county’s cluster outbreak of coronavirus tested positive for COVID-19, with the final two cases confirmed on Friday, according to Miami County Public Health.

Two cases had already been confirmed and results are now in for the other two, Koester Pavilion residents Earl Bolinger, 93, who died March 19, and Glenn Witters, 83, who died March 20.


Koester Pavilion resident Alan Shump, 88, tested positive for the COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, and died March 22.

SpringMeade Health Center resident, Hazel Begovich, 88, died Wednesday. She also tested positive for COVID-19.

Koester, located in Troy, and SpringMeade, located in Tipp City, are both owned by Premier Health.

The tally of positive COVID-19 tests at Koester and SpringMeade now stands at 21 residents, seven staff and one visitor, said Vicky Knisley-Hunter, spokeswoman for Miami County Public Health.

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The county also has an unrelated positive case involving a 56-year-old man who had traveled outside the country and is quarantined at home.

As officials urged everyone to stay home, not everyone has a home and homeless people are particularly vulnerable to this virus as it spreads.

Michael Vanderburgh, executive director, said they have about 400 people in the shelter every night. It is a way to get shelter guests who are in the highest health risk categories, such as those with underlying health conditions, and shelter them in a safer location.

Thursday the St. Vincent de Paul Society homeless shelters launched Operation STOPCOVID, an effort to temporarily reduce the density of men, women, and children in shelter during the COVID-19 crisis.

Working with Greater Dayton RTA and Red Roof Inns, the nonprofit now has temporary satellite shelters for over 80 guests, including 22 children.

Update: All 4 Miami County deaths were coronavirus cases, coroner says

Lodging, sanitation, isolation, and quarantine protocols increased the cost to keep the homeless guests safely sheltered. St. Vincent is anticipating some of their monthly expenses will double or triple during this emergency.

So far 297 donors have given $55,550 for COVID-19 shelter expenses at St Vincent, which still has more than $100,000 to go in meeting its goal for the next 90 days.

Vanderburgh said that since the Memorial Day tornadoes, nonprofits, faith based groups and governments have come together and the relationships have helped them respond to COVID-19.

“We have these relationships that we’ve built over the last year that allow us to respond in a very robust way to deploy resources right away,” he said.

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