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Abilene’s Salvation Army responds to ‘number of’ positive COVID-19 cases among clients, staff



ABILENE, TX – Several clients staying at The Salvation Army shelter in Abilene have tested positive for COVID-19. Testing of clients and staff on Thursday and Friday resulted in a number of positive cases and The Salvation Army is working closely with the Health Department and City officials to provide appropriate care and make quarantine arrangements.

Captain Joshua McKain, Commanding Officer of The Salvation Army, and his staff responded swiftly and efficiently after recognizing the first potential case in the facility. “One of our clients reported not feeling well and having potential COVID-19 symptoms on Thursday,” said McKain. “We contacted the Health Department and had the individual tested and made arrangements to monitor, and eventually test other residents and staff from the shelter.”

Ultimately, several clients tested positive and The Salvation Army is continuing to work with the Health Department and City of Abilene to identity alternative housing options. “We are so grateful for the collaborative relationships we have in the community that have quickly come together in response to this situation,” said McKain. “Throughout the ongoing pandemic we have promoted the practice of everyday preventative actions in our facility including mask-wearing, regular handwashing, proper sneeze and cough technique, and social distancing. We have worked very hard to limit any exposure and it is disappointing that we are now dealing with this situation, right at our busiest time of the year.”

In response to the situation, The Salvation Army has rescheduled the Angel Tree toy distribution, originally scheduled for Friday and Saturday, December 18-19, 2020. Instead, the annual distribution of Christmas gifts to underprivileged children will now take place on Monday and Tuesday, December 21-22, 2020, from 9 AM-4 PM each day at 1733 Poplar Drive. “We appreciate everyone’s understanding in this situation and ask that those picking up gifts only come to the drive-thru distribution at their assigned time,” said McKain.

This setback unfortunately comes right at the peak of The Salvation Army’s annual Red Kettle campaign, the organizations major fundraiser of the year. “We are going to have work very hard and be creative in order to successfully complete both the Angel Tree program and the Red Kettle campaign,” said McKain. “However, the safety of those who depend on The Salvation Army’s programs and services, along with the safety of our staff and volunteers, remains our top priority.”

The Salvation Army will continue to care for those staying at the shelter but will not be taking in any additional clients until further notice.