Outbreak of COVID-19 among Thunder Bay, Ont. homeless community declared
Enhanced testing, surveillance shows 'small but significant' increase in cases
An outbreak of COVID-19 among homeless and precariously housed people in Thunder Bay, Ont., has been declared.
The Thunder Bay District Health Unit (TBDHU) announced the outbreak on Wednesday afternoon, saying in a media release that "enhanced testing and surveillance done recently has shown a small but significant increase in cases of COVID-19 in this population."
The TBDHU also said that follow-up with individuals positive with COVID-19 has not always led to the identification of a clear link with other cases, suggesting that some spread of the virus is happening among people experiencing homeless and who are precariously housed.
"Significant measures have already been put in place, including enhanced testing and surveillance, static bed lists at shelters, and the expansion of the isolation shelter," the TBDHU said in the release. "TBDHU and community partners will be implementing enhanced infection prevention and control assessments and supports in various settings, ongoing testing and surveillance measures, and the deployment of rapid testing options, among other measures."
"The outbreak declaration will serve to strengthen and enhance the work that is being done."