Community Seeks Options For Non-emergency Shelter

Apr 15, 2020

Bear River Health District and Cache County government leaders are collaborating with Utah State University to plan for possible COVID-19 non-emergency shelter options.

The number of COVID-19 cases in the Bear River Health District increased from 48 cases Friday to 52 cases Monday.  Utah State University has been asked to work with local health officials to prepare a contingency  housing plan  for non-emergency community sheltering should there be a drastic increase in the number of cases.

According to Utah State University's News Director Emily Wheeler, USU's top administrators are meeting most days to discuss a contingency plan with the Bear River Health Department and Cache County that could have USU providing shelter for non-emergency community members if COVID-19 cases increase and social isolation needs expand.

"We are watching those numbers as they come out every day from the Bear River Health Department in terms of cases, the number of people who are tested, the percentage of positive numbers and then monitoring that every single day," She said. "It is still really in preliminary planning, in case the community sees the situation worsen to the point where we need to have a sheltering option like this." 

More than two-thousand students have vacated USU's Logan campus dorms to social isolate and complete university classes online. Seventy percent of USU's housing facilities are empty and are being considered as possible isolation sites for non-congregate sheltering.

"So it would be individuals who would be provided private or semi-private accommodations who don't need medical care. Some of them may live with family members who are immunocompromised or have other risk factors, so the isolation site would allow them to at least separate themselves."

Wheeler says USU wil not displace students residing on campus if the non-emergency shelter plan is implemented.