With guest safety at the forefront of its operations, Hospitality House turned to local healthcare provider Western Sierra Medical Clinic and Avellino Lab USA, Inc., a private molecular diagnostics company, to create a safe, streamlined service for COVID-19 testing, exclusive to homeless guests of Hospitality House, with results received within 24 to 48 hours.

“COVID-19 remains a top concern for us as a year-round essential service provider. When you dependably care for dozens of people in a confined space as Hospitality House does, it’s critical that we implement the most stringent of safety protocols to best protect not only the people we serve but our staff,” explained Nancy Baglietto, executive director of Hospitality House. “Any new person seeking shelter at Hospitality House must stay in our provisional quarantine dorm as well as undergo COVID-19 testing, but this partnership brings the testing to us with faster results, making it even more accessible for our homeless population.”

Oct. 6 marked the first day of testing at the shelter, which was administered by medical professionals of Western Sierra Medical Center. Samples were collected from the nose and throat of shelter guests by Western Sierra staff, with analysis then performed by Avellino. The COVID-19 test is a standard non-invasive, swab-based test used to detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is a strong indicator of a patient having an active COVID-19 infection even before symptoms develop.
Testing results produce a 96.67 percent accuracy rate.

“Providing accessible, quality health services are at the core of our mission,” said Jennifer Malone, chief executive officer of Western Sierra Medical Clinic. “Our partnership with Hospitality House increases testing accessibility to an underserved, highly vulnerable population in the community by bringing our services right to their door. Since it has been found that individuals experiencing homelessness are twice as likely to contract and spread COVID-19, we are proud to offer this service to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and to better protect the community at large.”

Western Sierra Medical Center will administer testing at the shelter twice a week for the foreseeable future with diagnosis and analysis performed by Avellino. Testing is exclusive to homeless residents currently receiving shelter and care at Hospitality House and to Hospitality House staff.

“Hospitality House continues to be a leader in emergency shelter best practices,” added Baglietto. “We remain in regular contact with not only local medical providers, but with Nevada County Public Health. When the livelihood of others is at stake, this isn’t the time to slow down. Collaboration to expand services is key.”

To date, the shelter has had no positive cases of COVID-19.

To help further services to those in need, the community’s support is always welcome and appreciated. Donations may be made to Hospitality House at hhshelter.org, by calling 530-615-0852, or by sending a donation made payable to Hospitality House at 1262 Sutton Way, Grass Valley, CA 95945.