WECHU declares COVID-19 outbreak at Downtown Mission

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Confusion with the latest COVID-19 outbreak at the Downtown Mission.

Executive Director Reverend Ron Dunn says he received word about the outbreak on Monday.

Dunn says the outbreak was declared by the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) after one person tested positive.

He says the mission requested rapid testing on Friday after the confirmed case and 45 individuals tested negative.

"It's hard to hear that an outbreak's been declared based on one case," he says.  "Those are the protocols so we're certainly working with the health unit constantly to try and make sure that we stay ahead of these things but that's the reality, one case puts you in outbreak."

Dunn says he was caught off guard when the outbreak was declared.

"It was a little bit confusing," says Dunn.  "We found out about it kind of third party.  It wasn't the typical case.  I kind of argued are we really in outbreak.  I mean you know this person, it's already been about 10 days right."       

He adds all protocols are in place and feels the mission is doing very well.

"I'm not concerned about it honestly," he says.  "Obviously I'm concerned about the person's health and they seem to be doing very well.  The challenge is when you put somebody in outbreak, it causes a little bit of panic and alarm amongst visitors."

Dunn says the individual who tested positive stayed at the mission's emergency shelter at 875 Ouellette Avenue on September 25.

The emergency shelter has 103 beds but has been reduced to 80 beds for distancing.

The mission dealt with a previous COVID-19 outbreak earlier this year.