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Congregate sheltering at Alexandria Mega Shelter, at least 20 confirmed COVID-19 cases since Ida

Published: Sep. 21, 2021 at 5:13 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 21, 2021 at 5:32 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - The Alexandria Mega Shelter is still housing many Ida evacuees.

As of Tuesday, there are a total of 124 people in the general population side of the shelter and 16 in the medical special needs side.

COVID-19 testing and vaccinations are being offered on a voluntary basis at the shelter.

Dr. David Holcombe with the Region Six Office of Public Health said about 270 people have submitted to voluntary COVID testing. Out of those individuals, about 20 percent, or 26 people, have tested positive for COVID-19.

For those who test positive, there is a quarantine area of the shelter where individuals stay in tents and close contacts are placed in another area.

Dr. Holcombe said officials had no choice but to place evacuees in a congregate-style setting following the hurricane.

“They used the enormous space here (at the shelter) to at least separate people out, but it’s never an ideal situation because they get in line for meals, they don’t stay six feet apart, they may or may not wear their masks, they were required but sometimes not used. You don’t want to do that (congregate sheltering) if you can help it, but here we really had no choice but to have congregate sheltering,” said Dr. Holcombe.

During the peak, the mega-shelter housed upwards of 1,000 people. Some were transferred to Bayou Chicot.

FEMA is currently working with individuals who are still housed at the shelter.

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