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Emergency Coronavirus shelter for homeless to close next Friday

 The emergency Coronavirus shelter at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City, S.D.
The emergency Coronavirus shelter at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City, S.D. (KOTA)
Published: Jun. 19, 2020 at 5:53 PM CDT
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From May 22 through June 26, the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center had an emergency shelter to treat homeless people with COVID-19 symptoms.

Though the shelter is set to close next Friday, it overall was considered a success, seeing 50 different people.

"We had set up for a census that could go as high as 100 in Rushmore Hall," said Darrell Shoemaker, the Rapid City Communications Coordinator. "Obviously, the numbers have been much lower than that. That's a good thing, we anticipated some hot spots among the homeless population that has not developed as of yet."

The shelter was funded by both the city and county and had different tiers designated for people, depending on their symptoms.

"Things ran smoothly, efficiently, we're pleased at how the shelter ran," said Shoemaker. "Going into this, we really didn't know what to expect, we really didn't know how COVID would show up in the homeless population, but also it was a good operation for the community in general because we could take a facility, stand it up, and address a health issue like this."

Admission was done by referral and the City is currently working on plans to phase the patients out.

Shoemaker said there are currently no plans to re-open the shelter in the event of a second wave of COVID-19 cases. However, Shoemaker said they will cross that bridge if and when they get there.

"Things have run very efficiently, managed very well here in the last several weeks, but there are efforts right now behind the scenes just to see what the next steps might be moving forward after next Friday," said Shoemaker.

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