Warming centers adjust protocols amid outbreak of Omicron cases


STATELINE (WIFR) – Heated shelters across the Stateline are open for those needing to escape the cold. Everyone is welcome, but one thing is not: COVID.

Those who run the centers say they are learning a lot as they enter a new cold season with COVID swirling outside. But they also stress that the rules their centers must follow are basically recommended practices for everyone.

Pastor Rebecca White Newgren and Rockford’s SecondFirst Church opened the night cafe on Tuesday. On Wednesday evening, around thirty people showed up looking for a break from the cold. Newgren says the volunteers are working with the Winnebago County health department to keep the virus out.

“We do what everyone else does: masks, distance, temperature measurement, hand sanitizer everywhere, but some people need to be masked and distanced,” says White Newgren.

Patrons of the cafe follow all local health department guidelines, including temperature checks when they arrive, masks, and hand sanitizer stations. Volunteers send anyone with symptoms of COVID to hospital, regardless of their vaccination status. Starting next week, the cafe will offer guests the chance to get vaccinated.

COVID protocols are equally strict at the Rockford Rescue Mission.

“When someone walks into our crisis center, looking for overnight care, they will come in, they will be screened for covid, they will meet a nurse that way, we are protecting everyone in the midst of the pandemic we are living through. always, ”says Abby Finley, Director of Marketing and Communications.

Anyone entering the rescue mission will be placed in a quarantine room where they will be seen by one of the staff at the Hope Clinic. Guests will be screened for COVID to determine if they can either the 24/7 shelter or one of the crisis centers. If someone is showing symptoms, they will be isolated and tested for COVID. Vaccination is not required for guests to use any of the mission’s services, but education is available for those who wish to be vaccinated.

Guests socialize with each other from a safe distance while wearing masks. Guest James Phillips is grateful for the support he receives and feels safe at the mission.

“I wouldn’t have nowhere to go and it’s cold outside… I’m really grateful and the people here are great, you know, they treat you like family as long as you follow the rules and everything. ‘have no problem,’ says Phillips.

The Boone County Health Department is in contact with its Emergency Management Agency (EMA) to ensure masks and social distancing are observed at one of their warming centers. Based on the county’s EMA, the public security building is NOT considered a warm-up center.

To find a warming center in your area, contact your county health department or town hall or town hall or see the list of approved warming centers below:

WINNEBAGO COUNTY

The carpenter’s place

1149 Railway Avenue, Rockford

Mon-Fri 8:15 am – 3:00 pm

Rockford Rescue Mission

715 W. State, Rockford

Crisis center for women / Women and children only

8 am-5pm / 7 days a week

Men’s crisis center

7 a.m. – 7 p.m. / 7 days a week

Or Open 24/7 for people needing overnight shelter

Rockford Apostolic Pentecostal Church

2907 S. 4th St., Rockford

8 pm-6am / 7/7

Second / First Church Overnight Café

318 N. Church St., Rockford

9 p.m.-6 a.m. / 7 days a week (OPEN on 1/4/2022)

STATE APPROVED SITES

Belvidere Oasis / Illinois toll highway

East of Belvidere Toll Plaza on I90

24/7

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