Larger, temporary IRQ site for homeless opens in Loveland

Capacity to provide COVID-19 isolation, recovery, and quarantine (IRQ) services to people in Larimer County who are experiencing homelessness has more than tripled this week with the opening of a new temporary facility in Loveland. The development comes amid a sharp rise in the number of COVID-19 cases at area shelters that has created an urgent need for expanded facilities.

The new IRQ site began accepting referrals Dec. 15. It is scheduled to be in operation for 60 days.

The site has a minimum of 85 rooms for people who need a place to isolate because they have tested positive for COVID-19 or are symptomatic and are awaiting testing or test results, as well as for those who need to quarantine because they have had an exposure that meets the guidelines for a close contact. It is located at Loveland Inn, 5542 E. Highway 34.

Initially, priority will be given to those who have tested positive or are exhibiting symptoms, with others accepted as space allows. There are no onsite medical services at the facility.

The site will take referrals from Larimer County Community Corrections in addition to serving unhoused individuals. 

The IRQ site is a collaboration of Larimer County, Health District of Northern Larimer County, and Homeward Alliance. Day-to-day management of the facility will be provided by the Health District, with help from staff at Homeward Alliance.

Efforts to establish an expanded IRQ site have been underway since Dec. 4 after testing revealed a jump in the number of cases at the temporary overnight shelter operated by Fort Collins Rescue Mission on Blue Spruce Drive. The spike began in mid-November. Cases there and at other local shelters and congregate sites – a total of 106 as of Dec. 16 – quickly overwhelmed the area’s existing IRQ site operated by the Health District and Homeward Alliance at residential houses on Myrtle Street in Fort Collins. That site, which could serve a maximum of 25 people at one time, will close while the Loveland facility is in operation, reopening at the end of 60 days.

“Having a safe place for people to isolate and recover is essential for keeping them and our community healthy as we go through a period of increased COVID-19 activity this winter,” said Dr. James Stewart, medical director for the Health District.

Community organizations that want to refer clients to the Loveland IRQ or would like more information can call 970-817-3516 or email recoverysite@homewardalliance.org. Transportation to and from the site can usually be arranged.