Topeka Rescue Mission takes steps to ward off COVID-19

Topeka Rescue Mission (WIBW)

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Extra staff and spreading out into unused space are options as the Topeka Rescue Mission works to keep its guests safe from coronavirus.

TRM Executive Director Barry Feaker met with about a half-dozen key staff members Wednesday morning to go over risk-reduction plans.

The shelter presently houses about 250 men, women and children. They're hiring nine new staff members to help address COVID-19 concerns.

Feaker said guests and staff are being screened for symptoms, including coughing, shortness of breath and fever. They're also studying any additional steps they might need to take in caring for a vulnerable population.

"Our senior directors have been meeting together to analyze every single thing we have here at the mission, everything we do dealing with someone who has got a chronic mental illness, somebody who is drug-addicted, somebody who may have come from one of the hot spots around the country, somebody who is symptomatic. This is not a hospital, but it's become one," Feaker said.

Feaker said the mission also may move some guests to the Children's Palace, 601 NW Harrison. The building was closed last year as the shelter faced funding concerns, so would have plenty of unused space, should they need room for people to maintain further distance from each other.