Rolly: Flu tough on those with no place to go

Published July 24, 2009 6:51 pm
Women's shelter battles bout of flu
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2009, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Health officials have wisely cautioned those with the highly contagious H1N1 swine flu to stay isolated from others until the symptoms are gone and the patient is better.

But what do you do when you are living in a safe house and can't leave, and suddenly find several others in the closely confined facility have the deadly disease.

That's what happened recently at the YWCA's women and family shelter in downtown Salt Lake City.

Most at the facility, which is currently accommodating about 75 women and children, are there because of domestic violence and often must remain in the safe house most of the time as protection from an abusive spouse or boyfriend.

So it has been cause for concern that three residents of the shelter have been diagnosed with swine flu and three employees have caught the disease.

The employees have been told to stay home, but the residents have no where to go.

YWCA director Anne Burkholder says the shelter is taking precautions to prevent the spread in the shelter, which houses children of the women residents.

The sick residents have been quarantined to isolated rooms, have their own bathrooms and are required to wear surgical masks.


Consequences of the economy » The YWCA not only has the swine flu to worry about, it's annual budget has taken a severe hit because of drooping charitable contributions as a result of the recession.

Employees there have been told that as of July 1, the beginning of the new fiscal year, they will no longer have paid holidays.

They'll still take the traditional holidays, but they won't be paid for them.

Director Anne Burkholder said the move is an effort to balance the budget with ever shrinking revenues because of a 23 percent drop in charitable contributions from last year.

About 45 percent of the YWCA's budget comes from government grants and subsidies, about 30 percent from direct contributions, another 10 percent from the United Way and the rest is made up from revenue producing programs like the day care center.


The long way around » As I headed down 200 South Friday morning around 10 a.m., I noticed a police car stopped at a crosswalk west of Main Street and several people crowded around someone on the ground, who obviously was injured, and a crushed bicycle that had been hit by a car, which also showed damage to its front bumper area.

I kept driving west, but noticed that in front of me was a Southwest ambulance, which also kept heading west. I thought that was odd that an ambulance would continue past an obviously injured person laying in the road.

The ambulance driver, apparently thought that was odd too, because he abruptly did a U-turn about a half a block past the accident, turned on his siren and went back for the injured person.

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