© Reuters. Greg King, 62, a homeless man, sits outdoors his tent below an expressway forward of Hurricane Ida, in New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S. August 29, 2021. REUTERS/Marco Bello


By Devika Krishna Kumar

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) – Alarmed assist staff raced to get New Orleans’ homeless off the streets on Sunday forward of fast-moving Hurricane Ida, a sophisticated, last-minute push made all of the harder by a extreme outbreak of COVID-19 circumstances within the state.

At shelters, staff have been giving masks to these introduced in from the streets, whereas additionally checking temperatures and administering speedy COVID assessments. Per 100,0000 folks, Louisiana is seeing the nation’s third-highest outbreak of the virus.

The fast-moving storm left little time to spare. Ida was set to make landfall in Louisiana as Class 4 hurricane afterward Sunday, bringing flooding and winds of 150 miles per hour (240 kph) to elements of the Gulf Coast.

Nonetheless, some homeless shelter residents have been too frightened of catching COVID-19 in a crowded shelter to maneuver indoors.

Greg King, 62, mentioned he would reasonably danger being outdoors than contract the Delta variant. King was one in every of a few dozen homeless folks below the Pontchartrain Expressway on Sunday morning.

“I bought my shot however I might reasonably not go to the shelter. All the blokes within the shelter – they only don’t put on masks,” King mentioned.

Jerry Ruffin, a supervisor at Ozanam Inn, a males’s shelter, mentioned the power at present housed 54 folks, barely greater than half of its capability.

“We’re accepting everybody that wants shelter,” Ruffin mentioned.

The middle had minimize capability as COVID-19 circumstances surged, however opened up extra forward of the storm.

New Orleans Mission, one other shelter, was close to its 225 individual capability and mentioned the town had been bringing in residents.

Willie Hughes, 65, moved to New Orleans Mission on Friday, regardless of considerations about COVID-19.

“I nonetheless put on my masks simply in case,” Hughes mentioned.

(Reporting Devika Krishna Kumar in New Orleands and Liz Hampton in Denver; Modifying by Daniel Wallis)

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