DC homeless says strict health policies helped fend off coronavirus infections

Temperatures are taken at the Central Union Mission homeless shelter in D.C.

A man cleans beds at the Central Union Mission homeless shelter in D.C.

Men social distance at the Central Union Mission homeless shelter in D.C.

A man cleans at the Central Union Mission homeless shelter in D.C.

A cook prepares food at the Central Union Mission homeless shelter in D.C.

Temperatures are taken at the Central Union Mission homeless shelter in D.C.

Men clean beds at the Central Union Mission homeless shelter in D.C.

A man prepares beds at the Central Union Mission homeless shelter in D.C.

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A D.C. homeless shelter took strict preventative measures when the coronavirus pandemic began — and they said it has worked.

The Central Union Mission homeless shelter says strict cleaning and mask-wearing requirements, a donation of a $20,000 UV light portal from Washington Capitals player Lars Eller and daily health evaluations have kept them from having any confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

“We worked really hard to get ahead of this thing quickly,” said Joseph Mettimano, president and CEO of Central Union Mission.

He says that the shelter has kept about 75 homeless men safe by implementing a set bed list and requiring strict sheltering in place.

He said some of the men started to get cabin fever so they came up with some ways to keep them occupied while they are sheltering in place.

“We increased the number of classes that we were doing to keep people occupied, we went out and bought ping pong tables, anything we could do just to keep people active,” Mettimano said. “It hasn’t been easy and it’s required a lot of hard work, some changes, some sacrifices.”

They have fresh air breaks at least two or three times a day and have been using their summer camp space in Brookeville, Maryland, in Montgomery County as a chance to get away.

“We started to take the guys out there every other Friday just to get outside to roam around in the country in the fresh air and that really has made a big difference as well.”

Mettimano says that they haven’t have any confirmed cases of the coronavirus at the shelter or at their food pantry.

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