Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky 2021-07-21 20:48:17 –
Lexington, Kentucky (LEX 18) — The surge in COVID-19 cases in Kentucky has forced those who support the operation of homeless shelters to reassess their reopening plans.
At Lexington’s Catholic Action Center, volunteers who have not been admitted since March 2020 were scheduled to return next month. However, due to the widespread use of delta variants, the date has been postponed.
“We were watching what the variant was doing,” said Genie Ramsey, director and co-founder of the center. “We were listening to the governor and the health department and watching carefully.”
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the center has maintained strict health protocols such as masks and temperature check requirements. Persons staying at the center are required to submit proof of vaccination.
“We are protecting older people with health problems,” Ramsey explained. “We protect them from what can happen.”
Hope Center staff, a few miles away, have also taken a cautious approach to ensure that unvaccinated clients live separately from vaccinated clients.
According to Carey Cairo, a volunteer and community engagement manager, vaccination is not mandatory, but 90-95% of clients are vaccinated.
Cairo said that more than 80 percent of people in emergency shelters are also vaccinated.
“We’re on the lookout for things,” Cairo said when asked about a variant of Delta. “As the number of cases increases in Fayette County, we will adjust our policies to be as safe as possible.”
Volunteer programs surged at the Hope Center, but Cairo said he would not be surprised if the restrictions were re-imposed.
“We are very fluid in our response,” Cairo explained. “All of this has taught us that we must respond quickly to changing circumstances.”