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Proposal for Toronto isolation centres approved by city's board of health

Last Updated Jul 2, 2020 at 4:27 pm EDT

A Toronto Public Health sign is seen at Dundas and Victoria streets on Aug. 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston
Summary

Dr. de Villa says the centre would be open to individuals who are unable to safely and effectively isolate at home


Similar programs are in place in Chicago and New York, which has made available 1,200 hotel rooms to safely self-isolate


Toronto’s Board of Health has unanimously approved a recommendation from the medical officer of health, calling on city officials with support from other levels of government to establish a volunteer isolation/quarantine centre to help control the spread of COVID-19.

Dr. Eileen de Villa says the centre would be open to individuals who are unable to safely and effectively isolate at home.

“An example of this would be people who live in large, crowded households where adequate space is not available to follow isolation or quarantine guidelines,” de Villa says in a report presented at Thursday’s Toronto Board of Health meeting.

Dr. de Villa notes the city has already provided isolation sites for those individuals who have contracted COVID-19 and are experiencing homelessness.

She also cited similar programs that have been put in place in Chicago and New York, which has made available 1,200 hotel rooms to safely self-isolate with the goal to expand the number of rooms to 3,000 by late summer.

Dr. de Villa says preliminary talks have already begun with provincial health officials.

“This report recommends that the Board of Health request the Public Health Agency of Canada, Public Health Ontario and the Ministry of Health to support work being done on this program as well as other methods to achieve isolation where it is challenging to achieve, in order to protect household members from infected cohabitants.”

On top of the report, Dr. De Villa also shared updated data on COVID-19 cases that showed number of cases and hospitalizations are higher in areas with a high proportion of low-income residents, newcomers to Canada and people with core housing needs.

Race-based data collection has shown certain racialized groups are over-represented in areas with a higher COVID-19 case rate, including people who are Black, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Latin American.

The most common occupations associated with COVID-19 cases include factory workers, retail or customer service representatives and health care-related occupations.