Local organization says less than 1% of Miami-Dade’s homeless tested are COVID-19 positive

MIAMI (WSVN) - A South Florida organization is making sure Miami-Dade County’s homeless population, one of the most forgotten and vulnerable groups, are taken care of during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust said their program has discovered that, unlike other homeless communities or the general population seeing surges of COVID-19 cases, that has not been the case with this county’s homeless.

“We’ve got the most robust testing program of any continuum of care in the homeless space in Florida, probably anywhere in the country,” sad Ron Book, chairman of the organization’s Board of Trustees.

Of the 2,000 or so tested, Book said they’re seeing less than 1% of the homeless test positive in Miami-Dade County.

“This is the group that were the elderly and the high-risk at some of the local shelters,” said nurse practitioner Jackie Master.

Since May, Master has been testing Miami-Dade’s homeless population for COVID-19.

Regarding the low number of positive cases, she said, “It really is remarkable, less than 1%, and overall, this area has tested more in the state of Florida than, to my knowledge, any other district in Florida.”

The testing is part of a comprehensive response to the pandemic from the Homeless Trust.

In addition to regular testing for those in shelters and on the street, the group promotes best hygiene practices and provides temporary housing for the most vulnerable.

“We serve the people that are considered the least, the last, the lost and the forgotten of our community. It’s what we do every day,” said Book.

Book said the Homeless Trust will continue to test their homeless population in Miami-Dade County for as long as it’s necessary.

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