Sat. May 21st, 2022

As the Omicron variant spreads through Toronto’s crisis center system, the city of Toronto doubles the number of places where homeless people who develop COVID-19 can recover in isolation.

“The Omicron variant has had a huge impact on society as a whole, and we’re seeing the same impacts unfold within the shelter system,” said Anthony Toderian, spokesman for the City of Toronto.

A homeless man is holding a sign on Yonge Street.

A homeless man asks for help on a cold day in Yonge Street, Toronto. Photo credit: Nur Dogan

People experiencing homelessness face serious challenges in shelters. Most shelters are not set up for people testing positive for coronavirus, so the city ran an isolation and recovery center with 60 rooms that people could isolate.

Now it is adding another 60 rooms and staff resources through partnerships with Inner-City Health Associates, University Health Network, Parkdale Queen West and The Neighborhood Group.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Toronto Public Health has provided detailed guidance to the homeless sector on establishing effective isolation plans within community centers to ensure that shelter residents in need of support have a place to isolate themselves safely,” Toderian said.

As the Omicron variant may lead to fewer symptoms, Isolation and Recovery Sites’ priority will be those with complex clinical, physical, or injury reduction needs, including seniors who test positive from community centers.

“The city continues to take a comprehensive approach to mitigating the effects of COVID-19 on the shelter and people experiencing homelessness, including severe infections, prevention and control measures,” Toderian said.

“N95 masks and rapid tests have been distributed to all city-funded shelters and on January 13 announced its work to provide a two-week supply, or 310,000, N95 masks to all shelters for shelters,” he said. .

“The city continues to be vigilant in protecting people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic and the Omicron rise,” said Toronto Mayor John Tory.

“We continue to develop our response to every step of the pandemic to ensure the protection of people experiencing homelessness and the stability of the shelter system,” Tory said.

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