The Imperial Valley College gymnasium is shown after being converted from an Alternate Care Site to treat COVID-19-positive patients to a Quarantine and Isolation Shelter to be utilized to provide temporary shelter for COVID-19 positive and/or COVID-19 exposed individuals. The site will be open Tuesday, March 23. | COURTESY PHOTO
(This story was updated at 5:45 a.m. Wednesday, March 24, with additional clarification from Imperial County officials on who is to be housed in the quarantine facility.)
“The Quarantine and Isolation Shelter (what we are referring to as the QIS) will be utilized to provide temporary shelter for migrants and asylum seekers that were released from federal detention and have either tested positive for COVID-19 or have been exposed to COVID-19. The QIS is intended to provide humanitarian aid to those who otherwise would not have a place to shelter or quarantine and to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community,” stated Rebecca Terrazas-Baxter, county Intergovernmental Relations Director.
“Individuals experiencing homelessness and are recovering from COVID-19 or have been exposed to COVID-19 or are at high risk for medical complications should they become infected will continue to be provided temporary shelter through Project Roomkey, if eligible and if needed,” Terrazas-Baxter stated when asked whether the homeless would be housed in the facility.
“The location of the QIS, the first in the state, was selected as federal, state, and local bodies determined a need for a location that had the ability to temporarily serve an influx of individuals not part of our daily population who are in need of shelter and do not have the ability to shelter and/or quarantine in the context of COVID-19,” she continued when asked whether other such facilities are beyond capacity.
“Other areas, such as the recent conversion of the San Diego Convention Center into a temporary shelter for unaccompanied migrant children seeking asylum, are also doing their part to support efforts to provide humanitarian aid to vulnerable individuals and families while also preventing the spread of COVID-19.”
IMPERIAL COUNTY — In a continued effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the county of Imperial is working, with the support and aid of Imperial Valley College and the state of California, to convert the IVC gymnasium from an Alternate Care Site to a Quarantine and Isolation Shelter, according to a county press release.
The Quarantine and Isolation Shelter will be utilized to provide temporary shelter for COVID-19 positive and/or COVID-19 exposed individuals who otherwise would not have a place to shelter or quarantine. This shelter can house more than 80 people and will be operational capable by Tuesday, March 23, according to the release.
It is estimated that the shelter will be in use for up to four weeks. The county is establishing a shelter as its current quarantine and isolation services are near maximum capacity, the release states.
This is an extension of the county and IVC’s inclusive approach in collaborating with local, state, federal, and nonprofit agencies to meet the basic needs and provide safe shelter to those who otherwise would have none, while ultimately preventing the spread of COVID-19. Protecting and ensuring every individual’s right to life and health will help control the spread of the virus. This action does not impact Imperial County’s current Red Tier status, according to the release.
To protect the safety and health of those working and sheltering within the Quarantine and Isolation Shelter, IVC’s gymnasium and surrounding areas will remain off limits and blocked off from public access.
“We will continue to keep the community informed as more information becomes available,” the press release from the county states.