Toronto Reports: First COVID-19 variant connected to a shelter for individuals experiencing homelessness

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COVID-19 Update
TORONTO – COVID-19 update – The instances of the new variants of Coronavirus are appearing in Ontario.
The instances in Toronto of the far more easily transmitted variants has many health officials deeply concerned.
Toronto Public Health has been advised of a COVID-19 case that has screened positive for a COVID-19 variant of concern at the Maxwell Meighen Centre, a shelter funded by the City of Toronto and operated by The Salvation Army.
The City is advising the public about this case in the interest of transparency. The Public Health Ontario Laboratory is conducting further tests to confirm if the case is a variant of concern, and to identify the variant.
There are currently eight cases of COVID-19 at the shelter, and all clients who have tested positive or who are close contacts have been sent to a dedicated isolation/recovery site with supports to recover. Site-wide testing for staff and clients is underway.
Shelter, Support and Housing Administration continues to work closely with Toronto Public Health and The Salvation Army to continue the comprehensive set of infection prevention and control (IPAC) measures to protect against COVID-19 and its variants, including:
• encouraging physical distancing in all areas of the shelter, including washrooms, dining and common areas
• ensuring the mandatory use of face coverings or masks
• encouraging frequent hand washing
• conducting daily symptom screening of all clients and staff
• enhanced cleaning
• providing transportation to isolation and recovery sites for individuals who are awaiting results or who test positive to recover
• conducting ongoing quality assurance site visits to confirm compliance with IPAC measures and provide direction for remediation where required.
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