PREPARATIONS are being put in place by agencies working with Cork's homeless people at risk of developing Covid 19.
Currently, the Cork Simon community's shelter on Anderson's Quay is full, with 47 currently there at night. An additional 16 people use the Night Light service, which provides service users with mattresses on the floor.
Cork Simon spokesman Paul Sheehan said that people in the homeless community are a particularly vulnerable group and discussions are being held regularly with the HSE in relation to the Corona virus.
He said: "We would regard our service users as the most vulnerable group and we are focusing at the moment on getting people up to speed with hand hygiene and respiratory issues."
At present, Cork Simon staff and volunteers are regularly checking with service users to ensure they are well and not showing any signs of the virus.
He said the focus is not just on the service users but also on staff and volunteers with Cork Simon.
One of the areas which will need to be addressed in the event of a case within the Cork Simon community will be the soup kitchen, where several people gather every night for a hot meal.
Mr Sheehan said: "Self-isolation would be very challenging here."
He said one of the options for the soup run would be to allocate certain times to each individual, to enable isolation in the event of a case.
Caitriona Twomey of Cork Penny Dinners also said the organisation is following HSE guidelines and have already taken steps to help prevent the spread of the virus. Service users are now served at tables instead of getting their meals at a hatch.
She promised: "We will continue to provide hot meals, no matter how we do it."
Among the options being considered is providing take away meals.
She said users of the service are concerned that they may have to self-isolate.