Today, Toronto’s first COVID-19 voluntary isolation site has officially opened.
The centre provides a safe, comfortable place to self-isolate, primarily for people with COVID-19 infection. A stay at the centre will be offered by Toronto Public Health case managers and the decision to accept a stay at the centre is entirely voluntary. People can also qualify to stay if they are at significant risk of COVID-19 infection from someone living in their home. Toronto Public Health staff will identify those who qualify for a stay through the case and contact management process based on the individual’s needs.
The risk of COVID-19 spread is high in residential settings. Risk increases further when a large number of people occupy a shared home space. The ability to effectively self-isolate can be complicated for people living in situations including multi-generational homes, homes with multiple people or people living together in small spaces.
The centre is modelled on similar sites in other major cities where the challenge of successful self-isolation is complicated by high density residential settings. People who choose to stay at the centre will receive their own room, meals and daily contact with Toronto Public Health to help guide them through the 14-day isolation period required of people diagnosed with COVID-19. The centre will provide accommodation for up to 140 people in a low-density area, providing a quiet and private setting. The centre is operated by Toronto Public Health, which secured the site through an exclusive use agreement for an unoccupied hotel building in Toronto.
The centre is one of the City of Toronto’s actions to manage COVID-19 resurgence through the fall and winter. At the beginning of July, Toronto’s Board of Health unanimously approved a recommendation by Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, to pursue funding and operational requirements. The Centre is fully funded by the Federal Government.
On Friday, Health Minister Patty Hajdu and Mayor John Tory announced $13.9 million in funding over 12 months from the Government of Canada for Toronto Public Health to establish this voluntary self-isolation centre.
“We are doing everything possible as a city to support our residents during this ongoing pandemic. Opening this site is an important step forward and a clear indication of what we can do if we work together with other levels of government. I want to thank Toronto Public Health for working to get this site up and running. Thank you to the people who will voluntarily use this site for doing the right thing to protect their families, their neighbours and our city.”
– Toronto Mayor John Tory
“The data has shown that COVID-19 spreads easily within households – especially when there isn’t enough room for people to self-isolate from others. But the safety of your family members shouldn’t depend on the size of your home. That’s why the Board of Health welcomes the Federal Government’s investment in Toronto’s first voluntary isolation site for people who can’t safely self-isolate at home. With hotel services and supports provided by Toronto Public Health, the voluntary isolation site will give people a secure and comfortable place to recover while keeping their loved ones safe.”
– Councillor Joe Cressy (Ward 10 Spadina-Fort York), Chair, Board of Health
“The Centre supports our efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19. That’s so important as we head into the fall, when infection rates will rise. The people who volunteer to stay at the Centre are saying: I care about the health of the people I live with and even of people I don’t know. They represent the best of us, showing the kind of concern for others that all Torontonians can be grateful for and that I hope Torontonians will mirror as we seek to reduce virus spread in our City.”
– Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health
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