One year later: keeping up with COVID

Our quick implementation of distancing and PPE protocols continues to pay off. From April 2020 through April 8, 2021, among the thousands of people DESC serves, we know of 196 clients who tested positive with COVID-19 and 65 staff members, a lower COVID rate than King County’s as a whole.

A person in a face mask hands a filled brown paper bag to another person in a face mask.
Thanks to the outpouring of support from our generous donors, FareStart, Operation Sack Lunch, Northwest Harvest and Food Lifeline, every client in our care has received three meals a day during COVID.

Of those cases, some people turned out to have been COVID-positive the one time we saw them, and some when we helped them through crisis outreach. Others were enrolled clients. Those cases were the most worrisome, because that’s where an outbreak could happen, says DESC Executive Director Daniel Malone.

“I’m really proud that due to our efforts and protocols, we have had only a couple of really limited outbreaks,” Daniel says.

We learned we can act quickly and we can act big

Having long been dissatisfied with our most crowded congregate shelter settings, we learned in the pandemic that changing to a setting with individual rooms can be done quickly and works much better.

“The congregate shelter model is not appropriate for the people with complex needs that we serve,” Daniel says. “When there is a new kind of pressure or threat, we as a society and community can do things we never thought possible. We can act quickly and act big.”