YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley is being extra careful to keep its residents and staff safe as COVID-19 continues to spread.
“So we have six feet distance between all the beds, and we’re having clients on the top bunk sleep with their head on one end and the bottom bunk with their head on the other end,” said CEO John Muckridge.
Right now, Muckridge said there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 from anyone at the Rescue Mission but they are still actively working to prevent any moving forward.
Among extra cleaning and sanitizing, Muckridge said they have expanded their meal options from two meal times to four for each meal.
For those who are not staying at the Rescue Mission but come to eat, to-go meals are being provided and handed out at the front door for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Muckridge said they are not allowing any volunteers at this time to reduce outside exposure.
“Our staff is kind of bearing the brunt of that weight that the volunteers have so graciously helped us with up until the beginning of this COVID-19,” he said.
Another change made has been the capacity. Instead of 134, the max capacity is now set at 80. This allows the shelter to use the third floor as a quarantine area for anyone who may be ill.
Muckridge said, thankfully, they were already below 80 residents when they made the capacity change so they didn’t have to ask anyone to leave.
Those seeking shelter must now call first and do a phone interview before being accepted.
“We’re trying to see if we can get them to stay where they’re at to help minimize the number of people coming through the door,” Muckridge said.
He said they are still accepting people, though.
“So if they aren’t able to stay where they’re at and don’t have any symptoms — COVID-19 symptoms or the 100.4-degree temperature — then they can come down to the Mission Monday through Friday from 9 to 4,” he said.
Anyone looking to get in touch with the Rescue Mission for shelter can do so by calling 330-744-5485.