In Garden City there are two COVID-19 shelters set up in coordination with FEMA and the Finney County Emergency Management department.
Stephen Green, Finney County Emergency Management director, said one shelter is for those who have tested positive and the other is for those who are not positive but need to get away from a household where there are positive cases.
Green said the shelter for those who have tested positive gives people the “opportunity to go there and isolate themselves for the period of time it takes to get through the healing process.”
The shelter allows those who maybe live with a spouse, children or roommates the ability to isolate away from others, not spread the virus and have access to resources and medical professionals to monitor a patient’s case.
The same can be said for someone who lives alone and decides to go to the shelter.
“This provides an avenue for you to be safely isolated and resources provided at no cost until you get through to the wellness process,” he said.
At the shelter, a nurse practitioner on contract with the health department conducts daily checks with the patients, Green said. The checks include oxygen saturation checks and verbal checks.
Additionally, if the nurses suspect anything is going wrong — for example, a patient is getting sicker or their condition is deteriorating — they can activate the EMS system, Green said. They’ve done it on a couple of occasions.
The use of either shelter is voluntary and free, Green said. During a patient’s stay, room and board is provided, meals are provided, laundry service is provided and wellness checks are completed by a medical professional to make sure the patient is alright and see how they’re progressing.
Green said the shelter for those who are not positive is kind of the opposite of the shelter for those with COVID-19.
“If you have numerous people in your household that are positive that are staying in your household, but yet you're not positive, you can come to this other hotel to isolate yourself away from them,” he said. “We're trying to control virus spread in the community and this is an opportunity, an initiative to do that.”
This shelter is also voluntary and free, and room and board, meals and laundry services are also provided.
Those staying at this shelter also have more freedom, Green said. They can somewhat come and go.
So far, few people have taken advantage of the shelters, Green said.
“We’ve probably had as many as eight or nine per shelter at various times,” he said. “We have multiple rooms that are set aside, no one else is utilizing these particular facilities but us, so we can handle a larger capacity if the need arises.”
Anyone interested in utilizing the shelters may reach out to the Finney County Emergency Management team by calling either Steve at 620-295-0712 or Anthony at 620-521-2261.
In addition to the shelters, Garden City Community College has signed a contract with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to utilize campus housing in the apartments, BroncBuster Suites and BroncBuster Housing to serve as quarantine locations for Finney County residents.