BOSTON (CBS) — The first round of universal testing on Boston’s homeless population reveals about a third have been infected with the coronavirus, Mayor Marty Walsh announced Monday. But he said the situation could have been even worse.

Walsh said that out of over 2,200 people, 735 tested positive for a 33% infection rate.

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“The consensus of those who work in the homeless community is that the impact could have been much worse,” Walsh said.

In late March, the city set up giant tents to screen shelter residents for the coronavirus, and give them a place to isolate while waiting for the results.

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Two giant tents were setup in the South End, to screen and isolate homeless people exhibiting coronavirus symptoms. (Image: WBZ-TV)

Walsh said Boston has increased space in its shelters and dedicated 500 medical respite beds for those experiencing homelessness at Boston Hope Medical Center.

“Severe illness has been kept to a low level in a medically vulnerable population,” he said.


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