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Dallas homeless shelter reports 38 coronavirus cases

A medical worker places a swab in a vial while testing the homeless for COVID-19 through the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust, during the new coronavirus pandemic, Thursday, April 16, 2020, in Miami. The Homeless Trust is targeting the senior population for testing, and is offering housing to those who test positive. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
A medical worker places a swab in a vial while testing the homeless for COVID-19 through the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust, during the new coronavirus pandemic, Thursday, April 16, 2020, in Miami. The Homeless Trust is targeting the senior population for testing, and is offering housing to those who test positive. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

On Friday, Dallas officials were notified that a privately-operated homeless shelter, Dallas Life, had reported 17 guests who tested positive for the new coronavirus. The number has now increased to 38, according to the shelter’s executive director Rev. Bob Sweeney, who confirmed the figure on Friday to The Dallas Morning News.

On Friday morning, the city relocated 164 guests at this shelter to a hotel while the facility undergoes a thorough cleaning, according to Roxana Rubio, the city’s public affairs officer.

“[The City’s Office of Homeless Solutions] is working collaboratively with the shelter and the organization is providing staff and operational support at the hotel site,” Rubio said. “OHS is also working with the medical community to provide guests in the hotel virtual appointments and check-ins throughout their stay.”

Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Dr. Philip Huang told county commissioners Friday that up to 200 staffers and residents at the shelter had been exposed. Sweeney told the News that the outbreak started when the first person of three tested positive for the virus eight days ago. As of Friday evening, he said, 47 people had tested negative.