Grey Bruce public health strives to contain COVID-19 outbreak at rooming house

The Grey Bruce health unit is taking extra measures to keep a COVID-19 outbreak in Hanover's rooming house.

"A number of people who have a certain lifestyle of using drugs, and that brings an extra challenge," said Dr. Ian Arra, Grey Bruce medical officer of health.

An emergency management team is stationed outside the 10th Street facility in downtown Hanover and trailers and a food truck after the health unit declared an outbreak last week.

Public health urges anyone who visited the building recently to get a COVID-19 test and isolate.

Grey Bruce's medical officer of health, Dr. Ian Arra said they recognize some of the residents are vulnerable and have special needs if they must stay home.

"We have been able to successfully ensure that there is enough support for these disadvantaged individuals to go through appropriate isolation to protect the self and the community from potential spread," Arra explained.

Along with food and clothing, residents are being provided with items they might need, including prescription alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, suboxone treatment for opioid addiction and Wi-Fi.

Security is stationed outside the facility 24/7 to ensure the outbreak is contained.

In a release Friday, the health unit stated, "We hope the public will also recognize these needs must be met as part of a comprehensive harm reduction and infectious disease containment strategy."

Several community partners are working together to help provide all of the support needed over the 14-day isolation period.

Sixteen people in the facility have tested positive for COVID-19, with more than 30 individuals considered high-risk contacts.