The Kansas Department for Children and Families is continuing to operate non-congregate housing facilities across the state to host individuals who continue to work in, are exposed to or are actively living in congregate settings with people who are COVID-19 positive, exposed or at high risk.


Currently, the La Quinta Inn and Suites by Wyndham is serving as a non-congregate shelter.


DCF currently manages sites in Dodge City, Emporia, Gardner, Leavenworth, Liberal and Manhattan. The facilities in Garden City and Junction City have since shut down and have been deep cleaned as they are no longer serving a need in those communities as non-congregate housing facilities.


These shelters are established to reduce exposure and prevent the spread of the virus, while maintaining operations within critical and essential businesses or services. They provide free housing, three meals a day, free laundry and regular deep cleaning.


A request for non-congregate shelter may be made to the state by a county emergency manager, or the local or state health officer may make a recommendation for a non-congregate shelter if an identified need exists.


The first non-congregate shelters were opened in April, and more were added as counties reached out for support. Each site will remain open per the duration of need in the community.


Additional sites may be opened as counties continue to address the ongoing spread of COVID-19.


In many cases these facilities were opened in communities with large congregate work sites, such as meat processing plants, that either experienced an outbreak or had concern about a possible outbreak.


The Kansas Division of Emergency Management, in cooperation with counties and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and DCF, contracts with local hotels to establish these sites. Many contracts have been for entire hotel facilities barring no other guests present.


This means hotel employees are not present while the facility is being used as a non-congregate facility and that the site is staffed by DCF regular or temporary employees who are supplied with proper personal protective equipment while serving as site managers.


Not all residents are in these shelters because of illness as some have people living in congregate settings, or they may work in congregate settings and are concerned about returning home because of exposure risk for COVID-19.


Examples include:


• Individuals unable to quarantine at home due to a high-risk person at home.


• Individuals who work in a congregate setting.


• Immunocompromised individuals.


• Adults over 65 years of age.


• Comorbidities.


• Chronic lung disease.


• Moderate to severe asthma.


• Serious heart conditions.


• Cancer treatments.


• Unable to financially cover independent quarantine.


• Or other health issues individuals are not required to stay in the facility, however if they leave, the county health officer is notified.


Shelters only provide a place to live, not office space, and infected and non-infected people are separated by floor.


For more information on non-congregate sites or the site at La Quinta Inn and Suites, contact Veronica Romero at 620-253-3915.


If someone needs shelter outside their home, they may contact the Ford County Health Department at 620-227-4545.