COVID-19 cases more than double at Seaton House shelter since last week, city says

An outbreak of COVID-19 at Toronto’s largest homeless shelter has seen 43 residents and staff test positive for the novel coronavirus as of Friday, the city said in a news release. 

Last week, Seaton House shelter for men reported 20 resident cases after an outbreak was declared on Jan. 21 of this year. 

“Clients who have tested positive or are high-risk close contacts have been sent to a dedicated isolation/recovery site with supports,” the city release reads. “There remains additional capacity in the isolation/recovery site.”

Under the direction of Toronto Public Health, site-wide testing is being conducted at the shelter. At this point, the city said no variants of concern have been identified in the facility, located at 339 George St. near Sherbourne and Jarvis streets east of the downtown core.

Measures implemented at the shelter include contact tracing of infected residents and staff members, screening residents and staff members for COVID-19 symptoms, enhanced cleaning and ensuring everyone is wearing masks when indoors, the city said. 

Mary-Anne Bedard, general manager of the city’s Shelter, Support and Housing Administration, had told CBC Toronto this week that Seaton House used to have a capacity of more than 500 people but the city reduced that to about 200 early in the pandemic to allow for physical distancing.

Forty temporary shelters and hotel locations, of which at least 25 are currently active, have opened to ensure physical distancing consistent with the Ministry of Health’s guidance for congregate living settings, the city said. 

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