Thomas Salts spent two weeks in a lodge in Arizona sleeping, watching TV and, most significantly, combating COVID-19.
“I mean it was truly one of the worst bouts I’d ever had dealing with any kind of thing, with the flu or anything,” Salts advised NPR’s Weekend Edition. “It was 10 times worse.”
Circle the City, a Phoenix-based nonprofit, helps Salts and different individuals with out houses achieve entry to well being care. Since May, the group has been housing and treating individuals with COVID-19 signs within the Phoenix Inn lodge in downtown Phoenix.
“I can tell you the hotel was just a hotel, but the people in it made it special,” Salts mentioned. “These people would come morning, noon, night and check on me. Take my temperature. Check my vitals. The doctor would be there with his stethoscope, checking my lungs, making sure I don’t have to go to the hospital for a ventilator.”
The unfold of COVID-19 is especially detrimental for individuals with out houses as a result of they usually lack entry to fundamental sanitation, well being care and the power to isolate and quarantine in the event that they do get sick. In response, cities with giant populations of individuals experiencing homelessness, together with New York City, Los Angeles, New Orleans and San Francisco, have begun utilizing vacant lodge rooms to supply care to among the metropolis’s most weak.
“I was completely by myself,” Salts mentioned. “So while I was in the room, a lot of times what I did is just watch the TV and lay in bed because I was so sick. But it wasn’t like I was quarantined and isolated because they checked on me all the time. I mean, they were either at my door or on the phone, checking on me, seeing how I was feeling. I mean they were just, just really really nice.”
Salts mentioned he acquired three meals a day — supplied by the nonprofit Community Bridges Inc., according to CNN — and additional snacks and drinks if he wanted them.
“They allowed me to even order some food out. And so I did from the grocery store. And they kept it in their own personal refrigerator — my eggs and bacon and stuff like that — and they cooked my bacon for me. They did,” Salts mentioned. “This is amazing, that’s what I mean, they’re really amazing people. And they did above and beyond what any kind of role, like just a worker doing a job would be doing. These people are genuine.”
This comes at a time through which Arizona — like a lot of the United States — is dealing with an increase in coronavirus instances. The state reported a median of 3,574 new cases every day this week and more than 65% of the state’s cases are in Maricopa County, which encompasses Phoenix and the encircling space.
For now, Salts is recovering again in a shelter awaiting his birthday. He’s hoping to raise some money online to purchase a automotive after his final one was totaled on the identical day that he misplaced his job.
“I’m really happy to be alive,” he mentioned. “My birthday is coming up and I might not have been here so I’m really, really happy for anything, everything, I have. So I’ll just start looking for work again and, eventually, I’ll find something.”
The audio model of this story was produced and edited by Andrew Craig and D. Parvaz.