As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the United States, one south Georgia church is partnering with its local emergency management to offer emergency shelter accommodation.
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Compassion Christian Center has converted its youth ministry building into a giant quarantine center ready to house people who have tested positive for the virus but need somewhere to stay for their isolation period. It will only be used for individuals who do not require hospitalization.
“When your church’s name is Compassion, you ought to show some right? And we show a lot, and this is just one way for us to do that,” Compassion Christian Senior Pastor Cam Huxford told WTOC 11.
The church’s facilities — including restrooms and a cafe — will be freely available to all of the shelter’s occupants.
The Chatham Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) will work alongside partners such as the Salvation Army to feed guests and public health will be tasked with staffing the vital space.
“The ultimate rule of emergency management is to think about all the different things that could happen within our community and how we would address those needs and how we would make ourselves, make our community just that much more resilient,” said CEMA Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator, Chelsea Sawyer.
Speaking to Fox 28 Savannah, CEMA coordinator Michael Whiteaker added that the beds could be for “individuals that are homeless,” or “individuals that live in a multi-family environment and could potentially expose others.”
Whiteaker said that staff will “make sure they check everyone’s temperatures, vital signs, monitoring symptoms they have and be able to see if they’re improving or getting worse to see if they need hospitalization.”
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Pastor Huxford said he was just happy to serve the local community at a time of such great need.
“We have a building that’s sitting there and compassion compelled us to make that available so we’re pretty excited that we are able to help people who are really hurting right now and hospitals obviously,” he said.
Police will be monitoring the zone 24/7 to ensure the safety of occupants and staff.
“We’re going to make sure it’s a safe place medically, physically, emotionally, relationally, everything,” Huxford added to Fox 28 Savannah.
“I feel like our mission is being accomplished. This is what we’re here for, and we’re glad to help.”
The state of Georgia has just under 20,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 800 deaths.
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