Skip to main content

LATEST UPDATES: Election 2020: Live Results | Tracking COVID-19 | Racial Justice

Marines Tour Convention Center For Tips On COVID-19 Control

Leaders from the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego touring the San Diego C...

Credit: Office of Mayor Kevin Faulconer

Above: Leaders from the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego touring the San Diego Convention Center on July 22, 2020, to learn more on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in a congregate setting.

Leaders from the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego visited the San Diego Convention Center this week to understand how the city, county and regional partners have worked to prevent the spread of COVID- 19.

The homelessness program at the center, named Operation Shelter to Home, has reported relatively few cases of the virus. Just 10 people at the shelter have tested positive out of 4,700 tests administered.

The recruit depot's commanding general and the command team recently toured the convention center to learn more about shelter operations, disease prevention and mitigation efforts, protocols for maintaining physical distance and individual safety measures for shelter clients, staff and volunteers.

Operation Shelter to Home launched on April 1 by moving individuals already in shelters into the convention center to allow for proper physical distancing, and then began welcoming in unsheltered individuals living on San Diego streets. The shelter currently serves more than 1,200 individuals daily.

"We have proactively taken actions to protect our most vulnerable populations during this pandemic," said County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, a Marine veteran and co-chair of the county's COVID-19 Subcommittee. "The significant effort put into building out the temporary shelter for the homeless was done using the highest standards, along with significant care and compassion. It's a good model for how our community comes together during times of crisis."

The recruit depot, established in 1919 adjacent to San Diego International Airport, transforms approximately 18,000 recruits into Marines each year and has continued operations throughout the global pandemic. More than 6,000 recruits from communities west of the Mississippi river have arrived at the depot and started training since the pandemic began.

With the ongoing threat of the virus, the team at MCRD has partnered with various partners to share information and best practices to keep recruits, instructors, families and the San Diego community healthy while continuing the mission of training Marines.

"The very unique and historic relationship we have with the San Diego community is something that we value highly, and the opportunity to share information and learn from our local partners is both mutually beneficial and makes our partnership stronger than ever," Brig. Gen. Ryan P. Heritage said. "Our mission of making Marines is essential to ensure our nation has a ready force of Marines. We have deliberately worked with our partners in San Diego beginning in late February to understand how we can support each other and safely achieve our essential mission."

Recruits are currently quarantined in hotels for 14 days after arriving in San Diego to ensure they are healthy before they begin training. As the pandemic continues, the depot is looking at more cost-effective options to house and provide outstanding medical services to large groups of personnel. The Operation Shelter to Home model offered insight into large-scale support to many individuals at one time.

"San Diego's relationship with our military partners has and will continue to be a strength, including during the global pandemic," Mayor Kevin Faulconer said. "All of the steps we've taken to prevent the spread of this virus among our homeless population have resulted in very few cases at the convention center."

New clients are screened for symptoms of any illness prior to intake, and clients and staff at the convention center are screened daily by temperature check.

FEATURED PODCAST

San Diego News Matters podcast branding

KPBS' daily news podcast covering local politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings so you can listen on your morning commute.

  • Need help keeping up with the news that matters most? Get the day's top news — ranging from local to international — straight to your inbox each weekday morning.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.