New Haven is setting up an isolation shelter to house homeless people who test positive for coronavirus but don't require hospitalization.
It will be set up at Career Regional High School on Legion Avenue, according to Mayor Justin Elicker.
The center will have 40 beds ready for those patients who don't have somewhere to go after being diagnosed. They will eventually have 75 beds at the shelter.
Some neighbors in the area of Career Regional High School raised concerns to the city.
"The site is the only identified regional emergency shelter in New Haven," Elicker said. "The site was identified years ago through a process and collaboration with our federal, state and local partners. This is the site we need to use as the emergency isolation shelter."
Elicker said by housing homeless residents who test positive for coronavirus there, the city is preventing the patients from spreading the disease around the city.
"By ensuring that people experiencing homelessness have a place to go to self-isolate, we will be protecting the community," Elicker said. "There's been some concerns, particularly in the community around that school, that this may increase the risk to them of potentially catching COVID-19. That is absolutely not the case."
Security and nursing staff will be present around the clock at the site and patients will not be able to leave while sick, Elicker said.
"We must have a place for these folks to go. This is the site," the mayor said.
Elicker said he hears the neighborhood's concerns, but said he has to act now.
"We don't have time right now to wait," he said.
"This is not the time to argue," Elicker said. "I am not perfect. My staff is not perfect. We're going to make decisions that are not perfect. We don't have time for perfection. We don't have time for disagreement. We must work together."
There is no timeframe yet on when the shelter at Career Regional High School will be up and running, Elicker said.
New Haven now has a seventh confirmed case of coronavirus with additional unknown numbers of presumptive cases.