Shelters for Wildfire Evacuees Have COVID-19 Protocols in Place

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With tens of thousands of fire evacuees statewide and limited places to put them, there are growing concerns of a new COVID spike.

In fact, that was one of the questions Gov. Gavin Newsom faced during a briefing Monday.

Newsom said the shelters for evacuees have put coronavirus preoccupations in place to make sure they do not become a new pandemic disaster zone.

California has opened 17 shelters across the state, including seven locations in the Santa Curz area.

Newsom on Monday said he toured shelters over the weekend and was impressed with their COVID protocols.

"There was a nurse that screened me," Newsom said. "She did not only take my temperature, but she asked me a series of questions before I could go into the actual shelter. There are specific protocols."

The governor said there was good social distancing inside as well.

The Alexander family last week were ordered to evacuate and went to a friend's house.

"They had the spray for the shoes, there's wipes in every room," said Linda Stuckey Alexander, a former evacuee. "We were in the back of the house with a separate entrance."

But San Jose's Good Samaritan Hospital Chief Nursing Officer said evacuees have to be thorough in their COVID prevention efforts.

"Wearing that mask is the most important thing," Mark Brown said, adding washing hands and practicing social distancing is also key.

Brown said we will know for sure in a few days what, if any, impact the fires will have on the pandemic.

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