Former hospital building reopens as homeless shelter sees first case of COVID-19

Pine Street Inn, New England’s largest homeless shelter, has reported its first case of coronavirus among its guests.

The person who contracted COVID-19, the illness caused by coronavirus, stayed at a number Boston-area shelters, including Pine Street Inn, according to a statement issued by the shelter on March 26.

The individual who tested positive is being treated at a Boston hospital, the statement said.

“The shelters involved are working with various health partners, including the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC), to track others who may have been in contact with this individual,” according to the statement.

Pine Street Inn has been preparing for this situation for weeks, and is implementing measures to minimize the spread of the virus among Boston’s homeless population, according to the statement.

The shelter implemented a screening system weeks ago to ensure all guests were free of the virus before they were allowed to enter.

The BPHC and the shelter have conducted more than 3,200 screenings to date. According to the statement, only 54 out of all 3,200 people screened were given an actual test for COVID-19. 

The shelter and the BPHC should know the results of the tests within a few days, the statement noted.

Should the shelter need more capacity to respond to COVID-19 concerns, the Newton Pavilion, a nearby former Boston Medical Center hospital building, has been temporarily reopened, according to a March 26 press release from Governor Charlie Baker’s office.

The building off of Albany Street can hold 250 beds.







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