MISSOULA - As Missoula County sees a slight increase in COVID-19 cases they are now working with a local motel to add more non-congregate shelter for high risk individuals.
Through November, the Sleepy Inn was almost always at capacity, but now that Missoula has partnered with the Red Lion Inn they will have up to 10 more rooms for non-congregate shelter.
"Going into the winter months and seeing the need for non-congregate shelter to continue we needed to create more capacity," Director of Missoula Emergency Management Adriane Beck said.
That's where the Red Lion comes in. Unlike the Sleepy Inn, it won't house folks who have been identified as a close contact or tested positive or COVID-19.
"There is a third category of individuals who qualify to access non-congregate shelter who are individuals who are considered high risk if they were to contract COVID," Beck said.
To be considered high risk, folks must be over 65, have an underlying health condition, and not have adequate housing.
"Over the last few months the health department and the county have noticed a direct relationship with COVID-19 cases and the need for non-congregate shelter," Beck said, "Our community numbers have been relatively low so to has the utilization of the non-congregate shelter as we see our numbers tick up we are started to see the usage of the shelters tick up as well."
While the city has up to ten rooms available beck says they have not had to use all of the rooms yet.
Each room will cost the city $60 per night, but Beck says 75% of these costs are reimbursable by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.