By Rick Sallinger

DENVER (CBS4) – Two homeless people in Denver have tested positive for coronavirus. Those positive tests came from the Stout Street Health Center in downtown Denver.

(credit: CBS)

The Colorado Coalition of the Homeless says it is not clear if there are more positive tests from places like Denver Health or other providers.

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CBS4 has seen numerous instances of large numbers of homeless gathered together without any attempt of social distancing.

And CBS4’s Rick Sallinger has been told the conditions inside shelters are not any better with beds shoved close together and crowding throughout them.

As of Friday afternoon, there were 1,734 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with 239 hospitalized and 31 deaths. The state has conducted more than 11,000 tests so far.

One young man on the streets told CBS 4’s Rick Sallinger, “Out of that, only two people, that is pretty good I don’t see why they are making such a big deal out of that.”

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Jesse West, 22, added he lost his apartment when his roommate got arrested and is now is without a place to spend his nights.

Cathy Alderman of the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless says it’s difficult for that population to maintain the proper procedures.

“They can’t wash their hands every 15 minutes and can’t go home and isolate,” she said.

She added more needs to be done to address the crowding on the streets and in shelters. Alderman suggested opening recreation centers and other facilities for them. She said many may not even be aware of the protocols for keeping safe during the virus spread.

Another homeless man, Sean Lawrence, said he tries to clean himself with alcohol and sanitizer when he can saying, “The Lord will protect me and if he allows me to get it, I will beat it.”

For now, some streets near downtown Denver are filled with tents. How many to a tent is varied. And those inside are certainly not 6 feet apart. It is feared the virus will be able to jump from person to person easily.

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Gov. Jared Polis said the state is working with county and municipal authorities to try to find proper help to get the homeless to a safe place during the spread of the virus.

Rick Sallinger