The city's largest homeless shelter is dealing with an outbreak that has resulted in 20 residents testing positive for COVID-19.
Mary-Anne Bedard, the general manager for Toronto’s Shelter, Support and Housing Administration, said on-site testing was conducted at Seaton House after an outbreak was declared last week.
"We got those results back yesterday, and there are 20 positive cases of clients at that location. All clients have been transferred to our recovery site," Bedard said.
She added that there will be additional testing at the shelter on Thursday. Bedard also noted that at least six Seaton House staff had contracted the disease.
Capacity at Seaton House, one of the oldest homeless shelters in the city, was reduced from 500 to 200 early on in the pandemic to ensure physical distancing is being followed. An outbreak was also declared at the shelter in April that resulted in at least 28 resident cases.
"We're continuing to work very closely with Toronto Public Health. It's not surprising to see an increase of outbreaks in the shelter system, but that's why we respond to them so aggressively because we want to make sure that we are maintaining as few infections as we can," Bedard said.
Dr. Eileen de Villa, the city's medical officer of health, said she is concerned about outbreaks in the city's shelters. Seven shelters were dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks as of Sunday.
"We know that residents within a shelter often have a number of chronic illnesses and conditions that make one concerned about the potential impacts of COVID-19," she said.
According to Toronto Public Health, there have been 773 COVID-19 cases linked to shelter outbreaks since the start of the pandemic.