Orange County has begun receiving trailers from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help house transients afflicted with COVID-19, officials said Wednesday.
Orange County was assigned 78 trailers from the state, with Anaheim taking 39 and Santa Ana accepting 22. They began arriving Tuesday night.
The remaining 17 were given to the county with officials expected to use them where needed.
Officials were connecting the trailers to services on Wednesday.
So far, Anaheim has received 10, spokesman Mike Lyster said.
Some of Anaheim’s trailers will be sent to its Salvation Army-run Anaheim Emergency Shelter on Lewis Street, south of Ball Road. Last month, two staff members were diagnosed with coronavirus, but tests of 34 residents came back negative, Lyster said.
Ten of the transients at the shelter who have heart or respiratory conditions have been placed in a hotel, where the city has rented rooms for them, Lyster said. Some of the FEMA trailers will be sent to the hotel and some will be stored at the city’s convention center until they are needed, he added.
City officials were also working to set up temporary shelter space at the Salvation Army’s thrift store near La Palma Park, Lyster said. The city plans to house 49 women at that shelter, and the trailers may be used there as well to isolate anyone who falls ill to the virus, he added.
Santa Ana officials intend “to utilize the trailers for isolation units for those homeless in our shelter that test positive for COVID-19,” said Paul Eakins, a spokesman for Santa Ana. The city has not had a transient test positive for coronavirus so far, he added.
The city plans to place the trailers in the parking lot of its homeless shelter, The Link. Fifteen of the trailers arrived Tuesday night, and the rest are due soon, he added.
County officials are planning to rent rooms in area hotels and motels to house ailing transients, because it is too difficult to deploy social distancing techniques in the county’s shelters, officials said.
So far, the county has rented rooms in hotel-motels in Orange and Stanton. Another one in South Orange County is expected to be set up soon.
The program is a “lockdown” one that restricts transients from coming and going from the hotels and motels.
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