COVID-19 outbreak affecting homeless population in St. John's

·1 min read
Paul Davis says the outbreak is the 'first experience with COVID-19' among guests at The Gathering Place. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC - image credit)
Paul Davis says the outbreak is the 'first experience with COVID-19' among guests at The Gathering Place. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC - image credit)

An outbreak of COVID-19 is affecting the homeless population in St. John's, according to the executive director of The Gathering Place.

Paul Davis says there is a "fairly small number" of people, including staff, who are affected at The Gathering Place.

Davis said a person entered the shelter Thursday with symptoms and later tested positive for the virus. The person did not stay overnight.

The Gathering Place's 30-bed shelter space remains open with some staff continuing to work, despite being close contacts. Davis said that's part of the centre's protocol, which has been approved by public health.

However, The Gathering Place's 250 regular volunteers are no longer allowed to enter the building.

"This is our first experience with COVID-19 in our guest population … we've been learning a great deal over the past 48 to 72 hours," said Davis.

Davis said there is a protocol in place to find homeless people a place to isolate if they test positive for COVID-19.

Since December, the Gathering Place has also been working on a "reduced service model," which means the dining room is closed, all meals are take-out and there is a reduced capacity for more activities.

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