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Outbreak toolkit for homeless service providers

Homeless service provider outbreak toolkit

The purpose of this site is to provide you with the information necessary to respond to COVID-19 transmission at your facility.

COVID-19 guidance is changing all the time, please bookmark the following sites and return to them often:

Create and maintain a positive COVID-19 case list. Include all residents, clients, patients, students, employees, volunteers, and contractors at your facility who test positive for COVID-19. If you are in a confirmed outbreak, you will use this list to submit a weekly cumulative case counts to Public Health. You may be asked to submit a final case list at the end of the outbreak investigation. Download a COVID-19 Case List template (MS Excel).

Report to Public Health – Seattle & King County

  • Report positive COVID cases: If there is not an ongoing investigation associated with your facility, report any positive COVID cases (including residents/patients/staff/contractors) using the Public Health COVID-19 Intake Survey. You will receive a confirmatory email with additional information and guidance links.
  • Investigation start: After your report has been processed, Public Health may open an investigation for your facility. You will receive an email with follow up instructions and a COVID-19 Investigator may contact you. An investigation is a non-punitive Public Health process for collecting information about how a disease is affecting our community and for providing guidance and resources.
  • Submit weekly investigation updates: Every Monday while the investigation is open, you will receive an email prompting you to submit a weekly investigation update. Use the Investigation Update Form link provided to you to report a cumulative case count, most recent symptom onset date, and any hospitalizations or deaths associated with your facility. Report every week even if your facility has no additional cases.
  • Investigation closure:
    • If your facility meets outbreak criteria, your investigation will close when 15 days have passed since the last positive COVID case was identified. At this time Public Health may send you an email requesting that you submit a complete COVID-19 case list. Download a COVID-19 Case List template (MS Excel).
    • If your facility does not meet outbreak criteria, your investigation will close when 8 days have passed since the last positive COVID case was identified.
  • Report subsequent cases: After the investigation is closed, subsequent cases should be reported using thee Public Health COVID-19 Intake Survey.

King County Guidance

Isolation and Quarantine Guidance for Homeless Service Site Guests and Staff: The CDC and DOH recommend that people staying or working in non-healthcare congregate settings isolate 10 days after symptom onset, or after test date if the individual does not have symptoms. A 10 day isolation is recommended for staff and clients regardless of vaccination and booster status. Isolation may be shortened to 7 days if the individual has a negative viral test, symptoms are improving and has been fever-free for 24 hours, the individual was not hospitalized and the individual does not have a weakened immune system.

Quarantine is not universally recommended. Your decision to utilize quarantine may consider the health of staff and resident population, mental health impact of quarantine, staffing capacity, and severity of transmission at your facility. Use of well-fitting masks, symptom monitoring and COVID-19 testing all help mitigate the increased risk of removing quarantine.

Shelter in place guidance: PHSKC has developed guidance for shelters in supporting COVID-19 positive and/or symptomatic guests in place when needed: Supporting COVID-19 Positive and/or Symptomatic Guests within Congregate Shelters.

Other Resources

Isolation and Quarantine Facility Referrals

For isolation and quarantine requests, contact the King County COVID-19 Mobile Isolation and Quarantine Program at 206-848-0710. Staff are available 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. See more about the program here:

For urgent needs, PPE is available for pick up at our warehouse facility (7272 W Marginal Way S, Seattle, WA 98108). We also encourage sites to also establish ongoing relationships with other regular vendors.

Supplies include:

  • PPE (procedure masks, N95 masks, gloves S/M/L, disposable gowns, face shields)
  • Wet wipes, hand sanitizer

Pick up times:

  • Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Thursdays from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Submit a request for PPE.

A list of COVID-19 testing sites can be found at COVID-19 testing in King County.

Mobile testing remains available on a limited basis through Public Health – Seattle & King County’s Health Care for the Homeless (HCHN) mobile team for facility-wide testing at homeless service sites if a) someone has tested positive and was on site while infectious, or b) if 2 or more individuals are experiencing COVID-like illness and have not been tested. This service is limited, and capacity for follow up may decrease for each site as demand increases. To request this service, submit a Respiratory Illness Intake Survey.

Become a point-of-care COVID-19 testing site

Sites can now implement their own rapid testing on site. Receive free BinaxNOW rapid antigen tests from PHSKC for screening and diagnostic testing. Prior to using rapid tests at your facility, your site will need to meet regulatory and reporting requirements.

This Checklist will help support your site in preparing for point-of-care testing: Point-of-Care COVID-19 Testing Checklist for Homeless Service Providers.

To order rapid COVID-19 antigen tests:

  1. If your facility has a CLIA Waiver, orders can be made with any of the following:
  2. If your facility does not have a CLIA Waiver, orders for over-the-counter tests can be made at COVID-19 Emergency Resource Requests.

Please email if you would like to have a team hold a vaccination clinic at your site. The team can also provide information about COVID-19 and consult with staff about how to engage, support, and open dialogue with anyone who may still feel ambivalent about vaccination.

Local workplace safety and health requirements may differ slightly from federal guidance. Please review Washington State Dept of Labor & Industries resources to ensure regulatory compliance.

Public Health – Seattle & King County’s Environmental Health team can provide your facility with ventilation and air quality technical assistance. Information for requesting technical assistance can be found on the Improving indoor air quality webpage. If your facility acquired portable HEPA air cleaners in the past and you have questions about their proper use or when to replace filters, please reach out to the HEART team at so we may assist.

Ventilation and filtration guidance

Cleaning and disinfection guidance

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