(Photo by Gelani Banks via Unsplash)

In order to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus in its cities’ homeless population, Contra Costa County is delivering sanitation stations to encampments.

Last week, Contra Costa Health Services delivered four portable toilets with attached hand-washing stations to the Waterfront Amphitheater in Martinez.

Over the next several days, the county will deliver as many as 10 similar stations to Richmond, Antioch and Walnut Creek, according to Health Services officials.

“People who lack housing are particularly vulnerable,” said Candace Andersen, chairwoman of the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors. “Without running water, it is very difficult to wash your hands and practice the hygiene needed to reduce your risk of infection.”

The county’s Division of Health, Housing and Homeless Services has also been delivering sanitation supplies, including hand sanitizer, to homeless residents for several weeks, county officials said in a news release April 16.

The county has also “secured 450 hotel rooms … for temporary use by homeless residents” considered most at risk for contracting COVID-19 because of poor health or advanced age, according to county officials.

The county’s homeless population is roughly 2,300 and to date there have been no reported cases of the virus at homeless shelters or service providers in Contra Costa County, according to Health Services officials.

Kiley Russell writes primarily for Local News Matters on issues related to equity and the environment. A Bay Area native, he has lived most of his life in Oakland. He studied journalism at San Francisco State University, worked for the Associated Press and the former Contra Costa Times, among other outlets. He has covered everything from state legislatures, local governments, federal and state courts, crime, growth and development, political campaigns of various stripes, wildfires and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.