COVID-19 cluster identified among St. Thomas homeless population

Photo of the Southwestern Public Health sign. Photo via swpublichealth.ca

Health officials in St. Thomas say several people experiencing homelessness who have contracted COVID-19 are isolating at a former public school.

Southwestern Public Health, the health unit for Elgin and Oxford counties, announced Tuesday that they have identified about 10 cases of COVID-19 among the homeless population in the city.

Because they have no homes in which to isolate, the health unit says most of the individuals are isolating at the former Wellington Street Public School.

“The City of St. Thomas is working with Southwestern Public Health to implement the most appropriate infection prevention and control protocols for those who must be isolated,” it said in a statement released Tuesday. “The County of Elgin, Ontario Health West, St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital, and many community and health care agencies are also supporting the approximately 10 individuals with coordination of services, health needs, and their basic needs (food, laundry, personal hygiene) during isolation.”

Southwestern Public Health reported 23 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. The two counties have a total of 235 active cases.

The health unit is reminding residents to follow public health guidelines such as physical distancing, mask wearing, screening for symptoms, and staying home when not feeling well. It also says vaccine appointments remain available and can be booked at www.covidvaccinelm.ca