Above: Shoreside Apartments on Sixth Avenue.
By Elizabeth F. McNamara
East Greenwich Housing Authority director Marcia Sullivan said Tuesday residents at two EGHA properties had tested positive or were awaiting results of a test for the coronavirus COVID-19. She declined to specify how many residents but EG News confirms at least one resident of Shoreside tested positive over the weekend. That resident had been self quarantining since symptoms arose 10 days earlier.
Shoreside and Regal Court are the housing authority’s biggest residential complexes, with 106 and 35 apartments respectively. (EGHA’s other housing is mostly for families.) Tenants are mostly seniors and people with disabilities, but Shoreside and Regal Court are not assisted living complexes and, by law, the people who live there do not have to disclose any health information to the housing authority.
Sullivan said she was grateful to those residents who had contacted EGHA to say they have been tested.
“We continue to attempt to secure the buildings as much as possible,” she said. Visitors are still allowed but EGHA is trying hard to keep them to a minimum. The fact is, many residents rely on family and friends to deliver groceries or other essential items. Community rooms at both buildings have been closed and there are notices about social distancing, according to Sullivan. The EGHA is also making weekly wellness phone calls to every resident, she said.
She said EGHA has had a hard time getting a hold of enough masks and cleaning supplies. Typically, they have about a month’s worth of face masks on hand but they went through those pretty fast. She said the town got her another box of masks and they were able to get cleaning supplies delivered. More masks are supposed to arrive next week.
EGHA is not part of the Town of East Greenwich, however the tenants are residents of East Greenwich so the Town has stepped up its efforts to provide meals and extra food to those in need through the meal program at Swift Community Center. EGHA employees and volunteers delivered the meals last week but after learning a resident had tested positive for COVID-19, Sullivan asked her staff to self quarantine for two weeks.
To fill the delivery void, Town Manager Andrew Nota himself made deliveries Monday, along with some other town employees. They wore masks and gloves, knocked on doors and delivered 50 to 60 meals as well as some groceries from the Interfaith Food Pantry for a handful of residents, Nota said.
“We’re not going to walk away from residents no matter where they live,” he said.
Sullivan said she hoped residents would get tested if they have symptoms and not fear any stigma.
“Nobody gives it or gets it on purpose,” she said of the coronavirus. She also didn’t want residents to be fearful. The EGHA’s message, she said, is, “Don’t be afraid, be careful.”
One thing residents at Shoreside and Regal Court might be able to use, said Sullivan, are face covers. A scarf works, but if any EG News readers are making masks and has some extra, you can reach Sullivan at [email protected].
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Would have been better too get this news to residents through the Housing Authority than to get it via rumor spreading around town or via the newspaper.