New COVID-19 outbreak declared at Ottawa shelter: OPH

New Brunswick is reporting one new case of COVID-19 Thursday. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Lars Hagberg

The novel coronavirus pandemic continues to hit Ottawa’s shelter system hard with local organizations fending off new outbreaks of COVID-19.

A new coronavirus outbreak was declared at an undisclosed shelter as of Monday, where Ottawa Public Health reports three clients and one staff member have tested positive for the virus.

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This raises the number of ongoing outbreaks affecting local shelters to five. Three of those outbreaks are reporting more than 50 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with the largest such outbreak reporting 108 individuals testing positive.

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A memo sent to Ottawa city council on Tuesday also indicates there are new COVID-19 cases at city-run shelters.

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Nine people, including staff, clients and security personnel connected with the city’s Nicholas Street, Dempsey and Tom Brown shelters, have newly tested positive for the coronavirus, the memo said.

The city’s human needs task force said four staff members who worked at either the Nicholas and Dempsey physical distancing centres have tested positive for the virus with additional surveillance testing to come. The affected staff last worked from Feb. 17 to 22, the memo said.

Three people who stayed at the Nicholas Street shelter have also tested positive for the virus. Two are now in self-isolation while the third is in hospital for an unrelated issue.

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A security guard who last worked at the Nicholas Street site on Feb. 17 also has a confirmed case of COVID-19, according to the memo.

OPH has officially declared the Nicholas Street physical distancing centre under outbreak. While the site is no longer accepting male clients, female clients can still be accepted to the site as they are housed in a separate area of the facility.

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A staff member who last worked at Ottawa’s Tom Brown respite centre on Feb. 17 has also recently tested positive for the coronavirus, but that site, as well as the Dempsey physical distancing centre, remain open to the public.

Meanwhile, OPH reported 25 new COVID-19 cases locally in its Tuesday update.

While markedly lower than the 55 cases added on Monday, the seven-day average of new cases remained relatively steady at 55 per day as of Tuesday.

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No new deaths related to COVID-19 were reported in Ottawa on Tuesday.

The number of active COVID-19 cases locally dropped to 451 from 477 in the past 24 hours.

There are currently 21 people in hospital with COVID-19 in Ottawa, seven of whom are in the intensive care unit.