Orange County to open its cold weather homeless shelters

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Orange County opens its cold weather homeless shelters tomorrow. And as the doors open, officials have a plan to deal with swine flu in the shelters.

Orange County’s Cold Weather Armory Emergency Shelter Program gives up to 400 people a place to sleep, to shower, and to get something to eat. It houses those people in the National Guard Armories in Fullerton and Santa Ana.

This winter, the shelters will have hand sanitizer available. Shelter workers will remind people to wash their hands and cover their coughs in the nook of their arm. And if someone walks in with flu symptoms, shelter workers will isolate them in one part of the shelter and get them treatment.

The shelter program says it might rearrange the sleeping mats, so people sleep head-to-foot instead of head-to-head.

The Orange County Rescue Mission, which operates a mobile medical clinic that makes stops at the armory shelters, has ordered a supply of H1N1 flu vaccine to get the high-risk homeless vaccinated.

The county hopes to keep the shelters open through mid-April, but that depends on funding.