Officials look at how to improve after House of Charity viral outbreak

KREM 2's Alexa Block has the story (11/20/16)

SPOKANE, Wash. --- It is getting back to normal at the House of Charity in Downtown Spokane.

Rob McCann, President and CEO of Catholic Charities said people are able to sleep inside again.

"We are relieved that the tents have been removed, the streets cleaned and most importantly that all House of Charity patrons are again sleeping inside the shelter,” said McCann.

House of Charity leaders said they got to this point by doing a few main things.

One, they isolated the people with symptoms from healthy people. That is why tents were set up outside during that time.

Two, they treated those with symptoms. The regional health epidemiologist told us people were treated with fluids and medicine. 

Three, they cleaned and sanitized the building. Health officials said this was to keep the virus from continuing to spread.

Assistant Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer said there were many things done right in this situation, like quickly bringing together different agencies.

"Bringing people together and communicating and leaving no stone unturned in terms of finding resources,” said Schaeffer.

Schaeffer said House of Charity staff did what they could before calling in reinforcements from the city and county.

Schaeffer said they also learned from this experience. He said they could have communicated better with the public.   

"We need to right away be a little bit upfront about whatever it is, in this case its norovirus,” said Schaeffer. “What is the situation, these are the symptoms, this is what we are doing and this is what a quarantine means."

McCann said they appreciated the community support.

“The quick response and generous response by the entire community thus far has been an incredible blessing to Catholic Charities and the House the Charity. As always we asked for continued prayers,” said McCann.

McCann said there will be an ongoing need for donations.



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