The social service agency CHUM is hiring 18 full-time workers as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The temporary employees will staff two Duluth-area lodging facilities that will be used for specific housing needs, said Lee Stuart, CHUM’s executive director. One will house individuals who are sick with the virus, but not so sick that hospitalization is required. The other will house individuals who show no symptoms of the disease but are vulnerable because of age or underlying health conditions, such as being on dialysis or being treated for cancer.

CHUM has been working with St. Louis County and the city of Duluth to build a defense against the new coronavirus spreading at CHUM’s shelter or in other “congregate care settings,” such as group homes. Stuart said the county isn’t releasing the names of the establishments involved to protect the privacy of the people who will be staying in them.

Although contracts hadn’t yet been signed with the two facilities, Stuart was moving quickly. She had already received some resumes and was speaking with some individuals on Monday, she said. “We’d like to be up and running … by the middle of the week. Wednesday would be great.”

According to a news release from CHUM, responsibilities will include intake and room assignment, well-being checks, assistance with meal service and outdoor breaks, providing guests with information they need to support isolation and quarantine and meet their basic needs.

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If directed by public health authorities, employees will be trained in proper procedures and supplied with personal protective equipment, according to the news release.

Those interested in applying can do so at

The county may work with other facilities as well, Stuart said, but CHUM is only involved with two of them. She lauded the efforts of county and city officials to address the threat of the virus against vulnerable populations.

“I’ve been really happy with the team that the county and city have put together,” she said.

“It’s been like Duluth at its best.”