Sonoma County has contracted with various partners to provide a non-congregate site (NCS) for unsheltered individuals at high-risk of serious complications if they contracted COVID-19, and an alternate care site (ACS) for individuals diagnosed with mild or moderate coronavirus and those awaiting test results and who have no place to isolate or quarantine safely.
The County’s non-congregate sites, often referred to as NCS, offer temporary shelter to individuals who have not been diagnosed with coronavirus, but are considered at high-risk of serious complications should they contract the virus. Individuals who are unsheltered who are over the age of 65 or have underlying medical conditions meet the criteria for placement at NCS locations.
These individuals are either transfers from the former NCS site or they are referred through organizations that work directly with the homeless and other high-risk populations and outreach teams from the County and cities.
Many who stay at an NCS are experiencing homelessness, making it difficult to follow physical distancing and hygiene safety procedures that help stop the spread of the virus. The NCS provides a safer alternative to open-area shelters or encampments.
In general, people who live unsheltered and are unstably housed have more health conditions than those with homes. NCS shelters individuals experiencing homelessness who are most vulnerable to COVID-19, including those over the age of 65 and/or have underlying medical conditions. Individuals in these risk categories can experience more serious complications from COVID-19 than other members of the community.
The County is partnering with Alliance Redwoods Conference Grounds, the Sonoma County Fairgrounds and the Astro Hotel in Santa Rosa to provide NCS locations. The County is evaluating additional options to continue expanding locations and services. Disaster Emergency Management Association (DEMA) and St. Joseph’s Mobile Health Clinic will be providing medical services for those at the NCS.
Current Locations and Timeline
- The Alliance Redwoods Conference Grounds can shelter up to 99 people in cabins. This is a 10-month contract, which began in July, 2020.
- The Astro Hotel accommodates 43 people. The County has a month-to-month contract with the hotel.
- The Fairgrounds can host 68 individuals. The length of time this NSC will operate is up to the discretion of the board of supervisors.
Each site has 24-hour security and on-site, around-the-clock management.
Individuals staying at NCS sites are offered many services, including:
- Regular testing for COVID-19
- Housing navigation, which helps move people into permanent housing
- Medical and behavioral health services
- Prepared meals and laundry services
- Transportation by van and public transportation for those who receive a pass to leave for essential activities, such as a job or medical appointments
Alternate Care Site
An alternate care site (ACS) provides medical care for individuals diagnosed with mild or moderate coronavirus and those awaiting test results who cannot safely isolate or quarantine in their homes.
Sonoma County has contracted with the Best Western Dry Creek Inn in Healdsburg as an ACS. This site could operate through March 2021.
The maximum capacity is 60 people. The most staying at the former Sonoma State site at any one time was around 40.
Those who stay at the ACS are referred from healthcare facilities for care during the 14-day recovery period. More severe Covid 19 cases are referred instead for hospitalization.
Patients include Sonoma County residents and local healthcare and essential workers who must isolate to prevent spreading the virus to their families or individuals experiencing homelessness who need a temporary place to safely isolate from the community during recovery from the virus.
No visitors are allowed at the ACS, and patients may not leave the premises. The site will have 24-hour security and around-the-clock medical care.
Medical and waste from meals will be safely disposed of by contracted vendors.
Before discharge and return to the community, patients must complete the medically determined isolation and recovery period. Discharged patients will be transported back home. Patients who are unsheltered will be transferred to an appropriate shelter.
Individuals staying at ACS sites are offered services, including:
- Medical care
- Behavioral health services
- Prepared meals and laundry services