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Non-profit working to keep most vulnerable safe from the coronavirus

Humility Homes and Services is educating and taking steps to make sure the people staying it their shelters stay safe from the virus.

DAVENPORT, Iowa — Even though as of Wednesday, March 18 there are no confirmed cases in the Quad Cities, the coronavirus is having an affect in the community. 

Experts say self-isolating is crucial to slow the spread of the pandemic and 'flatten the curve' but that's difficult for those in our community without a home of their own.

At Humility Homes and Services', the group who also runs King's Harvest shelter, staff is working to maintain social distancing.

Executive Director at Humility Homes and Services Ashley Velez says they've moved the beds around to ensure people staying there can stay 6 feet apart. They're cleaning and disinfecting regularly.

But it's difficult to maintain as both shelters have 50-60 people staying there every night.

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"A lot of the individuals we also serve have a disability of a long duration," Velez says. "So it's a medical condition, mental health that makes them more vulnerable, or if it's someone who's slept outside for multiple years, your body breaks down much easier. So you are more susceptible to becoming sick. So the close proximity, we're working on that."

Velez says they're using a screening tool to identify anyone with symptoms and get them tested for the virus. That hasn't had to happen yet. They're also educating everyone on the symptoms and how the virus spreads.

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"(We) don't want to overwhelm the healthcare system," Velez says. "Our participants, all year round, they lack access to healthcare as they are more transient. They use the emergency system because they don't always have a primary healthcare doctor. So we're being conscious of that, that we don't want to overload a system that's already overwhelmed."

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Humility Homes and Services is working with other Quad Cities agencies to create a plan in case someone in the shelters does test positive for the coronavirus. Again, nobody staying in the shelters has shown symptoms or been tested for the virus.