Your page for up-to-date information about the coronavirus and our agency response. Information is changing by the hour, and we are following the spread of the virus in Maryland and beyond closely.
Listen to Kevin Lindamood's WYPR interview
Here’s what we know
- There have been 1,660 cases and 18 deaths in Maryland. (Health Department updates here)
- As of March 11, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a global pandemic
- On 3/25, Mayor Jack Young released the city’s Emergency Response Plan for People Experiencing Homelessness. The Baltimore Sun covered community reaction to the plan, including ours
- There will be no evictions or utilities shut-offs during the emergency
- Medicaid enrollees up for redetermination will continue to receive benefits throughout the crisis
- State-wide changes:
- On 3/30 Governor Hogan issued a "stay at home" directive. Read the do's and don'ts here.
- Gatherings in Maryland cannot exceed 10 people
- Public schools are closed through 4/24. Students can pick up free meals here.
- All non-essential businesses were closed 3/23
- MDOT MTA reduced public transportation services as of 3/18. See their changes here.
- The Maryland General Assembly ended session on 3/18
- Primary elections in the state have been postponed
Six steps to stay healthy
- Get the flu shot.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- If you are sick, stay home. Really.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, your sleeve or your elbow
- Clean frequently touched objects and surfaces (phones, keyboards, glasses, etc.)
What we're doing to protect clients and staff
- We're here for our clients. We have always helped people in crisis with nowhere else to go, and that work is more important than ever.
- We're consolidating staff and resources at 421 Fallsway. As of 3/24, we have closed our community clinics, including West Baltimore and Baltimore County. People without homes can continue to get care in-person at our downtown clinic—our largest site and headquarters. Rest assured that these are temporary closures.
- Coronavirus screening and very limited testing is underway, including:
- Temperature checks at our 421 Fallsway clinic for clients, visitors and staff.
- New screening hotline specifically to support shelter staff. Our medical providers and community health workers are staffing a hotline accessible by the operators of Baltimore City’s largest shelters. They provide guidance for COVID-19 screens and trigger city transport to partner hospitals for testing and isolation.
- Testing for clients who screen positive (following state and federal guidelines). We have now repurposed the mobile clinic as a clean provider staging area and have testing bays in our drive-thru garage. Testing is still extremely limited and only available for clients under certain circumstances after screening.
- We're adjusting services and embracing new tools as needed:
- Transitioning to telehealth: Providers are using phone visits and consults whenever possible.
- All clients with scheduled appointments (including home visits) are encouraged to keep their scheduled visit by phone if possible. This will help minimize the risk of exposure to COVID-19 on public transportation and in the community for clients with high-risk health needs.
- 421 Fallsway will open to clients at 7:30 a.m. instead of 7 a.m. to allow time for screening set-up.
- Convalescent Care Program will stop accepting new clients.
- Closed or canceled for now:
- Mobile clinic
- Saturday clinic hours at 421 Fallsway
- Routine dental services—our dentists are still providing emergency care for cases that meet the CDC definition of emergency (e.g., uncontrolled bleeding, swelling and severe pain).
- Client groups
- Home visits and escorts to community visits
- We're reducing in-person contact as much as possible:
- Non-clinical staff are working from home, and clinicians are on a rotating schedule.
- We've canceled agency gatherings and events for March and April, including the Client Art Show
- In-kind donations are suspended
- Our Executive and Emergency Response Teams are coordinating on a daily (if not hourly) basis. This is a fast-moving situation, and we will be ready to adjust policies and practices as quickly as possible.
- We're calling for Maryland's public health response to include:
- We are working with local public health and homeless services leaders to ensure that people without homes or in congregate living situations have someplace to isolate if tested and awaiting results for COVID-19 – or if diagnosed and in need of quarantine.
- The city’s newly released Emergency Response Plan for People Experiencing Homelessness includes initiatives to deconcentrate large congregate facilities and protocol for active screening at shelters, hospital discharge and isolation at new designated facilities.
- Our shared goal is to slow the spread of the virus and delay it from entering congregate shelter facilities.
You Can Help
Just as you look to your doctors for answers during this crisis, thousands of our neighbors are turning to the health professionals they know and trust at Health Care for the Homeless. Your gift will help us do our part in protecting the lives of people without homes.
Resources & FAQs
Visit the sites below for useful resources, more statistics and FAQs:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Health Care for the Homeless Council
We'll be updating this page as needed. Check back often!