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City taking measures to protect homeless population

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Mayor Jackie McKinney addressed a question the Sun asked during the Gallup City Council’s March 24 meeting about what the city is doing to protect its homeless population in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As of [March 24], we have proposals put together by a local hotel that is willing to use part of their facility to sequester people during their testing period,” McKinney said. “So far we have everyone on board, but we’d need to hire security for the hotel and have medical personnel available on duty 24 hours a day until we hopefully get negative results back.”

McKinney said there is not a finalized solution right now, but communications with Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and the New Mexico Department of Health are ongoing to find the best solution.

The expenses would be covered through the state’s new allocation funding.

“[Funding] is the least of my concerns right now where we have to protect the most needy of our population to make sure the disease doesn’t transmit through them,” McKinney said.

McKinney also highlighted how people who are admitted to detox are being tested for COVID-19 beforehand.

“Things are changing every minute of every day, but we are addressing that issue,” he added.

By Cody Begaye
Sun Correspondent