COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- A drop in temperatures is bringing concerns about how shelters can keep a vulnerable population safe while COVID-19 cases on rising in the county.
In September, Coloradans got a taste of winter. The Rescue Mission took as many people in as they could, while also abiding by coronavirus restrictions.
"We have increased cleaning measures, hand sanitizer stations, hand washing stations, we check temperatures of everybody who comes in and if they show any symptoms at all, we refer them to an isolation shelter," said Travis Williams with the Springs Rescue Mission.
It's something they hope to continue to do as Thursday's warm sunshine turns into a winter storm, expected to bring in snow.
"I do know that tonight is supposed to get into the 20s," said Patricia McGovern, a woman currently sleeping along a sidewalk in Downtown Colorado Springs.
Many of the people seeking shelter already have health issues, made worse by living in harsh conditions.
"We didn't know we were coming at the same time as a global pandemic," McGovern said.
So making sure the homeless community doesn't get exposed to COVID-19 comes with increased precautions at shelters. Especially as cases in El Paso County continue to rise.
"We take it very seriously and we monitor the situation very closely," Williams said. "We've been fortunate over these last few months to not have any cases at the Springs Rescue Mission."
He is working to continue caring for those who need it most, especially if it means someone gets a warm place to sleep at night.
"Folks don't have to make hard decisions of 'Can I stay healthy, or do I find shelter?'" Williams said.