Symptom Alert System for Shelters (SASS)

What is the Symptom Alert System for Shelters (SASS)?

The Minnesota Department of Health is collecting voluntary information from shelters to track summary level information on possible cases of COVID-19 using a new web-based monitoring system called the Symptom Alert System for Shelters (SASS).  

This tool is meant to be inclusive of all homeless service providers. It includes congregate emergency shelters or other congregate homeless programs like site-based supportive housing, as well as non-congregate homeless programs like outreach or scattered-site supportive housing. Organizations doing outreach work are also welcome and encouraged to use it for work in encampments.

What you report in SASS are not positive COVID-19 test cases, they are instead cases in which someone in your shelter (client, staff, regularly scheduled volunteer) is displaying symptoms that you believe could indicate a possible COVID-19 infection. For information on COVID-19 symptom screening in shelter settings, please see resources at:  

Why are we collecting this information? 

1)     By collecting information about symptoms  MDH can see where possible cases of COVID-19 are happening without having to wait for testing. If there is a big jump in the number of people with symptoms, MDH will coordinate with local public health to mobilize a public health response. 

2)   Collecting this type of information allows us to be doing a different kind of monitoring than what we are able to do through testing alone. We can see clusters of possible COVID-19 in communities and target our public health response accordingly.  

Important things for you to know

  • This is entirely voluntary. If you do not want to participate, you do not have to.   
  • The information we are collecting is aggregate/summary level only- we are not asking for any individual information.  
  • We are doing this in partnership with the CDC, who has asked Minnesota to start monitoring for symptoms in shelters. Again, your partnership is entirely voluntary.  
  • Please visit Institute for Community Alliance’s webpage ( for HMIS tools and resources for COVID-19.  
  • Because HMIS is a client-level database that does not include staff or regular volunteers, and not all shelter providers are in HMIS or will choose to use this functionality, these two efforts do not overlap. 
  • SASS data is entered via survey (REDCap). You do not need a username or password, and can use the same survey link every time you enter information.   

***  This tool is not intended to replace testing. Shelter guests, staff, and outreach workers are all included as prioritized COVID-19 testing populations. If you are concerned that someone might have COVID-19 based on their symptoms, please contact their healthcare provider or call the Minnesota Department of Health at 651-201-5414 for guidance on testing.  

To Complete the SASS Survey Click the Link Below: 
Symptom Alert System for Shelters (SASS) 
If the link above does not work, try copying the link below into your web browser: 

If you have questions please email Blain Mamo at