Los Angeles virus patients isolate in mobile homes

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The Dockweiler RV Park is one of five shelters commissioned by Los Angeles County to isolate COVID-19 patients

A mobile home park near a Los Angeles beach -- usually home to vacationers with an ocean view -- has become an isolation zone for COVID-19 patients.

About 100 white caravans are lined up side by side at the Dockweiler RV Park, with mask-wearing guards blocking entrances as health workers in protective gear move in and out of the trailers.

The park is one of five shelters, including motel and hotel rooms, commissioned by Los Angeles County to isolate patients, especially those from among the county's tens of thousands of homeless people.

There were 21 people staying there as of Monday morning.

"We need places where people can be safely isolated from the public and even from their families," County Supervisor Janice Hahn said in a statement.

"We are using the Dockweiler RV Park for this purpose and we are actively identifying more sites like it for quarantine and isolation housing across the county."

There have been 2,505 COVID-19 cases and 44 deaths in Los Angeles County -- the most populous in the US with nearly 10 million residents -- according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker.

California as a whole has counted more than 7,500 cases and 150 deaths as one of the worst-affected states in the US.

Governor Gavin Newsom two weeks ago announced a $50 million fund to buy mobile homes and to rent spaces in which those living on the street could self-isolate.

"People experiencing homelessness are among the most vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19," Newsom said in a statement at the time.

According to the RV Industry Association, California purchased 1,300 mobile homes for the project.

The group plans to donate 20 vehicles and sell 100 others at a discounted price to help meet demand, the group said in a letter to Vice President Mike Pence, who is spearheading the country's response to the pandemic.

Such caravans have also been used as temporary housing in other emergencies, including during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

California authorities were already investigating mobile homes as shelters for homeless people in the state before the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The state's homeless population of 150,000 is the largest in the nation, and about 60,000 of them live in Los Angeles County.