Quarantine continues at House of Charity in Spokane - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Quarantine continues at House of Charity in Spokane

Posted: Updated:
SPOKANE, Wash. -

Update 4:15 p.m.: In a press release Sunday afternoon, Kim Papich with the Spokane Regional Health District confirmed the viral outbreak the caused a quarantine at the House of Charity in downtown Spokane was in fact the norovirus.

Health officials continue to urge patrons who visited the shelter since Thursday to return to the shelter Sunday night, as it will help limit the spread of the virus.

“Out of an abundance of care and caution for those who may have been exposed to the illness, we are urging people to remain at the House of Charity,” said Dr. Sam Artzis, interim health officer for Spokane Regional Health District. “We are grateful for the care and concern that we are seeing in the community in helping these individuals to get well.” 

Public health officials continue to emphasize individual hygiene, including carefully and thoroughly washing hands with soap and water. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can be used in addition to hand washing.

Continued Dr. Artzis, “If we’re meticulous about washing our hands and handling food properly, we may be able to limit the impact.”

Update: Rob McCann, President and CEO of Catholic Charities of Spokane said in a press conference Sunday morning that staff and physicians working to contain a possible norovirus outbreak at Spokane's House of Charity says he believes they are "getting ahead of it," but that the quarantine may be in place for another two days.

Dr. Ward Merkeley, a physician who works as a volunteer at House of Charity, agreed with McCann that they are getting the outbreak under control and that it shouldn't affect the larger community.

Sam Dompier, director of the House of Charity spoke to how the shelter is holding up and said that all in all, the shelter is doing well. About 11 staff members are sickened by the virus and volunteers have stepped up to help run the shelter over the last day or so.

Meanwhile, McCann says that people should remain vigilante. If you see a homeless person who appears ill, they should do their part to get that person help. He also made clear that if people are feeling sick, they should come to the House of Charity so as not to spread the virus or overwhelm local emergency rooms.

Previous coverage:

Catholic Charities of Spokane report a quarantine is still in place for the House of Charity shelter in downtown Spokane Sunday.

House of Charity was put into quarantine Saturday afternoon after several patrons at the shelter reported feeling ill. The Health District reported symptoms were similar to norovirus and are working to confirm that diagnosis.

As of Sunday morning Catholic Charities says about 60 people inside the shelter have reported feeling ill. The shelter remained open overnight, and set up tents outside to accommodate new guests who arrived overnight. 60 patrons showing symptoms were assessed by medical personnel from Spokane Regional Health District and the Spokane Fire Department- patrons determined to be ill were admitted to the House of Charity shelter building for overnight accommodation and shelter care

About 140 patrons slept outside in tents Saturday night. 

The quarantine is ongoing and is a group effort between Catholic Charities of Spokane, Spokane Police, the Health District, Providence Health Services, the Red Cross and the City of Spokane.

If you would like to support the House of Charity in their efforts, you can donate online here: https://www.catholiccharitiesspokane.org/donate-now

Catholic Charities asks that you do not donate in person to keep more people from getting sick.

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