CARBONDALE (WSIL) -- As the weather warms up, some facilities that typically serve as cooling centers are unable to due to COVID-19.
Carmalita Cahill, coordinator of the Carbondale Warming Center, says they were originally scheduled to open from December to March 31, but the coronavirus has kept them open well into the warmer months.
"We were able to secure some funding to remain open at that time, to help keep people safe during COVID, when there's not places for them to be, even Phase 3 is not fully open for the guests that we serve right now."
The warming center is now acting as a cooling center for those who have nowhere to stay.
"So, currently, we are still taking people in. They go through a screening process, temperature checks, five-question screening every time they come back on the property."
The center will provide water and a cool place to stand for a few minutes to passersby who are not staying at the center, but to protect the facility from COVID-19, they won't be permitted any further than the front entryway.
"But they are able to come in. I think you can feel it too, it's pretty cool right here. You do feel a definitive difference from outside to in there and then to have a cold drink of water, and then be able to kind of hopefully carry on or if they need any other kind of care at that point, like medical care or anything like that, we would be able to call for that for them."
For those who find themselves without a place to go during the hottest times of day, Kerri Gale, Director of Environmental Health at the Jackson County Health Department, says it's important to pay attention to your body.
"Move into the shade, stay hydrated, put cold packs on, and if your symptoms aren't going away, seek to go inside, and go to seek your medical provider."
Gale says to look out for higher body temperature, a strong pulse, headaches, and disorientation as they may all be symptoms of heat-related illness.