Within the past 45 days, more than two dozen people have tested positive for COVID-19 at GRACE Marketplace, one of Gainesville’s homeless shelters.
A total of 37 tested positive, with almost a dozen of these people caught at the gate before entering the shelter.
Sixty-three percent of GRACE Marketplace’s population has been vaccinated, with the majority of recent positives coming from those who chose not to receive the vaccine.
All meal groups and volunteer programs that they offer have been suspended since March to protect the safety of guests, volunteers and staff. Meals are now provided to the community in a to-go setting, with no indoor dining options available.
The shelter staff this week also closed all indoor common areas, including the computer lab, laundry room and other meeting spaces.
GRACE Marketplace states both online and over an automated voice message system that the shelter is currently not accepting newcomers, although a Facebook post from GRACE on Wednesday says otherwise.
“Thanks to the support of the Alachua Area Medical Reserve Corps and the Alachua County Health Department, we provide rapid testing at the gate for every person coming on to campus. This is required every two days, and includes staff,” the Facebook post said.
Those who test positive are removed and isolated in a local hotel until they are no longer contagious. Meal plans and case management are still provided to these individuals.
Since June, GRACE Marketplace has run a separate hotel program for medically vulnerable people. Although not COVID-19 positive, they would be the most likely to suffer severe medical complications if they contracted the virus. There are 13 people currently in this program.
They have also moved 33 people into permanent housing from our emergency shelter programs since June.
For more information of GRACE Marketplace’s full COVID-19 prevention plan, click here.