Coronavirus outbreak. Pathogen affecting the respiratory tract. COVID-19 infection. (copy)

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HIGH POINT — An official at Open Door Ministries confirmed Wednesday that the nonprofit has seen nine cases of COVID-19 among the residents of its men’s homeless shelter but none among its staff members.

Ryan Ross, Open Door’s executive director, said the outbreak was discovered about June 14 after a man who had been staying at the shelter, which offers 48 beds, went to a hospital with an underlying condition. The man was tested for the highly contagious disease, and the results came back positive, Ross said.

All staff members and the other 23 residents were then tested, Ross said. “Of the eight that were (positive), seven of them were asymptomatic,” he said.

Ross said the shelter tests all the men for COVID-19 before they can move in and that “everybody was sleeping feet-to-feet and spread over 6 feet apart.”

Shelter residents have been moved to hotels for quarantine, and the facility on North Centennial Street has been professionally disinfected, he said.

“Now we’re putting in additional safety measures,” Ross said. Those include working to improve air flow within the shelter using fans and air conditioning, installing Plexiglas between the beds, and hiring professional cleaners on a regular basis.

He said he expects the shelter to reopen in July.

“I think we’ve handled it really well,” Ross said. “It is a very unique situation.”

Guilford County as a whole had 2,482 cases of COVID-19 as of Tuesday afternoon, according to public health officials.

Contact Kenwyn Caranna at 336-373-7082.

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