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Cressy supports proposal to provide accommodation to people with COVID-19 who can't isolate

Last Updated Jun 24, 2020 at 6:04 pm EDT

Healthcare workers do testing at a drive-thru COVID-19 assessment centre at the Etobicoke General Hospital in Toronto on Tuesday, April 21, 2020. Health officials and the government have asked that people stay inside to help curb the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Toronto City Councillor and Board of Health Chair Joe Cressy is throwing his support behind a proposal that would provide accommodation to vulnerable residents who test positive for COVID-19, but can’t properly isolate.

Cressy said in a statement, a report from Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa will be considered on July 2 by the Board of Health.

In it, Cressy said, Dr. de Villa outlines multiple ways to reduce transmission of the novel coronavirus and protect vulnerable communities.

One of those ways is to create voluntary accommodations for people who test positive for the virus, but do not have enough space to safely isolated from their families or other members of their household without putting them at risk.

Dr. de Villa is calling on all three levels of government to work together for this initiative. Cressy says in order for the proposal to work in Toronto, they need support from both the federal and provincial governments.

Cressy added that Toronto Public Health data has shown COVID-19 has disproportionately affected households in low-income communities and the risk of transmission within the households is high.

“For many Torontonians, the luxury of a home with multiple bedrooms and bathrooms is not a reality. People may be able tor recover at home, but not without potentially infecting those closest to them,” said Cressy.

The Ward 10 councillor also pointed out New York and Chicago have begun to offer similar accommodations, including free hotel rooms for people to self-isolate.

“This proposal … has been proven successful in Chicago and New York and the data here in Toronto shows that it is necessary here too,” said Cressy.

He said the hotel setting is something they have been looking at utilizing for their voluntary accommodations and cost is still one of the specifics being investigated.

Cressy said they hope to a detailed proposal in front of the other levels of government “very soon.”

Toronto reported an increase of 73 coronavirus cases and nine new deaths. That brings the totals to 14,029 cases and 1,061 deaths. Another 101 people have recovered for a total of 12,061.