A few weeks ago, we shared on social media and via email the news that some of the men in our programs at the Modesto Gospel Mission became sick with COVID-19. I wanted to update you with our present status as of the day I write this. Since the first 9 cases of COVID-19 arose in our facilities with men who fell ill and were quarantined and isolated, I have been in direct communication almost daily with Stanislaus County Public Health Services Agency (HSA). Although the Mission has strictly followed federal, state, and local guidelines for homeless shelters during the pandemic, we have now been put in the position of focusing on caring for the sick and limiting the spread of coronavirus within our walls.
Stanislaus HSA has mandated quarantine of all men’s programs while positive cases exist. HSA has also required weekly testing of each person in any Mission program and all staff. Over the last 4 weeks and to date, there have been a total of 42 positive cases. These positive cases are men in our programs (including the original 9 men), which include the nightly shelter, Freedom Road Day Program, and residential 18-month New Life Program, and a few staff members who work closely with them. Of the 42 positive test results, we only had 1 man who was hospitalized, and that was because of his age (and he has recovered). All of these men were quarantined in separate buildings away from the rest of the men. Most of the cases have been a range of symptoms from about half being Asymptomatic (no symptoms) and half being mild/moderate flu-like symptoms. Of these 42 cases, 18 have either recovered or been allowed to reenter the programs, and the remaining are in the process of doing the same. The last several testing periods the positivity rate has been trending down, in which our last test results reflected zero positive results. At this time, neither female staff members nor women and children in our programs have tested positive for COVID-19.
The Modesto Gospel Mission has always been a place that provides Refuge for Recovery and Restoration through the power and the love of Jesus Christ. During this unique season, those who serve in the ministry of the Mission are simply striving to listen to the call of God and love all those who are COVID-19 positive alongside those that are self-isolating at the Mission. I cannot thank you enough for the love and prayers as Mission staff and guests are navigating through this pandemic. Our daily schedule consists of constant communication with Stanislaus HSA and other local and federal agencies as changes seem to occur hourly. As of today, we are currently sheltering 14 of the 42 positive individuals at our stand-alone New Beginnings building and utilizing our Youth Center building for overflow. Each program and staff department is quarantined and isolated from the others, and all nonessential staff are working from home. All employees and guests are wearing face masks, being tested weekly, and we continue to comply with all mandates and guidelines from local and state public health departments and the federal Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).
Thank you for the many social media posts, emails, and phone calls encouraging us, and your prayers for the Mission and those we serve. I thank you as well for your big-hearted generosity as we have experienced an outpouring from you our donors in this great time of need. As we navigate through this pandemic, we do so fully encircled by God’s loving arms and partnering with you as the hands and feet of Jesus. But we do need your prayers and financial support now more than ever.
We especially need your practical support caring for those in quarantine isolation. If you were in quarantine, what one or two items would you want to receive from someone who cares? Maybe it’s donating coffee, snacks, bottled water, hygiene kits, or maybe just sending a simple letter of encouragement and support. These items and more could be a blessing to those that are currently under quarantine and often isolated from the people they love and the things they enjoy.
As we go through this pandemic together as a community, a region, a state, and a nation, we know that COVID-19’s health and economic effects have touched us all in some way. We pray for the blessings of Jesus for you and your family, and thank you for your faithfulness to His work at the Mission.
Jason Conway, Executive Director
New Life Program Graduate 2008
“He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again.
On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us…” – 2 Corinthians 1:10