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The American Cancer Society makes the ‘heartbreaking’ decision to close Hope Lodge locations

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- COVID-19 has caused the American Cancer Society to closes all Hope Lodge locations, including Rochester's Sandra J. Schulze Hope Lodge.

In a news release on Monday, The American Cancer Society said the decision to suspend the program was "heartbreaking." However, it cited the safety of patients and staff was the main priority.

The organization said the escalation of COVID-19 means it will no longer be able to maintain the current standard of safety.

The program provides people going through cancer treatment with a supportive and affordable environment live in.

The American Cancer Society said the staff at Hope Lodge do not meet the criteria for "essential medical workers." Many are volunteers and senior citizens. In the event of a shelter-in-place order, the staff would not be able to continue working. The residents would be without support and everyone would be put at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19.

"The health of our staff, volunteers and guests surpasses even our will to serve," the organization said in the news release.

Hope Lodge residents have until Friday to move out. The American Cancer Society is helping them find alternative housing.

Megan Zemple

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