“We arrive at 10 or 12 admissions per day”: reception centers provide care for homeless people who test positive for Covid

“We arrive at 10 or 12 admissions per day”: reception centers provide care for homeless people who test positive for Covid

In the center of Athis-Mons, homeless people infected with the coronavirus come to isolate themselves and rest. The number of receptions has exploded compared to the first confinement.

Free screening offered to the homeless by ARS Nouvelle-Aquitaine in La Rochelle, June 4, 2020 (MARIE-LAURENCE DALLE / FRANCE-BLEU LA ROCHELLE)

To deal with the 2nd wave of Covid-19, the centers dedicated to the homeless have remained open or have been reactivated. They make it possible to confine the homeless who test positive. As in Athis-Mons (Essonne), where one of the Covid centers for the homeless in Île-de-France is located.

Center director Dhahak Haykel makes the visit: “The rooms are 26-27 square meters, with a bathroom and sanitary facilities. We are not in tight spaces ”, he emphasizes. It is true that there is space in this former Ehpad, where a cozy atmosphere reigns since the homeless are confined to their rooms.

The number of positive people has exploded

One wing is dedicated to positive people and one to those who are at risk. In total, there are 40 homeless here. Much more than during the first wave, according to Dhahak Haykel, who works for the Aurore insertion association. “The big difference is that in the first wave we didn’t have a lot of reception, or two to three people per week. As part of the 2nd wave, we have been getting admissions to 10-12 people per day for several days ”, he notes. This can be explained in particular by the increasing importance of screening according to the director. “Today there are many more places where you can get tested”, he recalls.

The The center is now at half of its capacity, it welcomes single women or families. For many, these are migrants who have been infected in the street or in accommodation centers, indicates Cécile Clarissou, doctor at the Covid center. “There are almost as many people who come from the streets, spotted by mobile teams or by day care centers, as there are people who come from accommodation centers where there are several per room, with collective sanitary facilities and where the we eat together”, she explains.

The situation remains under control

Living conditions at the Covid center in Athis-Mons therefore seem better than in a traditional accommodation center. Containment is not mandatory in the event of symptoms. It is supervised by the Ile-de-France Regional Health Agency. And the teams explain that they don’t have too much trouble managing this period.

It is a moment of rest for the homeless accommodated here, since it remains a period of confinement, explains Bigué Dialo, health manager: “We have equipped all the rooms with TVs, we have set up a wifi network, they have access to the garden to try to get them out of this daily routine which is not easy.” The confinement lasts one to two weeks. In this situation, the social meets the sanitary. After the period of isolation, several families were able to find a shelter.

The difficult management of Covid-19 among the homeless: listen to Etienne Monin’s report