Local advocates want officials to do more to prevent COVID-19 spread in homeless communities

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Homeless advocates are worried that COVID-19 prevention will be tricky for people without shelter since they often do not have access to bathrooms and places to wash their hands.

During Wednesday’s lunch rush at Sacramento Loaves and Fishes, volunteers passed along a message to people as they served up warm meals.

“Just maintain good personal hygiene,” said Executive Director Noel Kammermann. “Washing your hands. Not touching your face.”

Kammermann is trying to remind people who pass through the homeless services campus that hygiene is especially important right now. He sees the spread of the new coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, as a major threat to people without shelter.

“I’m definitely worried. We have a lot of elderly folks out there in the community and a number of people with compromised immune systems,” Kammermann told FOX40. “Our folks don’t have access to restrooms or wash stations out there in the community.”

Advocates are trying to be proactive by handing out hand sanitizer but Kammermann said the city and county need to do more.

“I look at other communities where they’ve provided handwashing stations all over their cities,” said Kammermann. “And I feel like we should be making restrooms and handwashing stations accessible here.”

A spokesperson for the Sacramento County says it’s something they’re looking into but have yet to secure funding for it. In the meantime, Kammermann is trying to look ahead, noting many members of the community don’t have access to health care.

He wants officials to put together a plan for where the homeless should be treated if the time comes.

“I just want to see people get to a better spot on all of this,” said Kammermann.

Loaves and Fishes is also preparing to potentially be without some of their volunteers. Many volunteers are seniors, so they’re urging them to put their health first.

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