Toronto: When presenting with symptoms, self-isolation is one of the most effective ways to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
However, for some Canadians, crowded housing conditions and restrictive costs can make it unsafe or impossible to self-isolate, increasing the risk of community transmission.
To resolve this problem, Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health and John Tory, Mayor of Toronto, this week announced $13.9 million in funding over 12 months for Toronto Public Health to establish a voluntary self-isolation centre.
The centre, located in Toronto, will have approximately 140 rooms to provide a safe venue for voluntary self-isolation. Preliminary data from Toronto Public Health and Public Health Ontario reveal that lower-income neighbourhoods have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
Individuals from these neighbourhoods may have more difficulty isolating themselves. Through its case and contact management process, Toronto Public Health will identify individuals to be offered a transfer to the isolation site on a voluntary basis, based on eligibility criteria recommended by the Ontario Medical Officer of Health.
Individuals will be provided with lodging, including bedding and other necessities, daily meals and incidentals, and daily check-ins by phone from a Toronto Public Health Communicable Disease Investigator.
Patty Hajdu said: “I want to thank the City of Toronto for its collaboration in helping protect
Canadians. As we work together to keep COVID-19 under control, this new site will help those for whom it’s simply not possible to limit close contacts and self-isolate effectively at home.”
Mayor John Tory said: “I want to thank the federal government for their continued support during the COVID-19 pandemic. Today’s announcement of funding for the isolation site is another step forward in our response to the pandemic. Isolation centres have proven to be successful in helping stop the spread of the virus. By providing this service for residents who are not able to properly self-isolate we can ensure that families do not have to put each other at risk.”
Dr. Eileen de Villa, Medical Officer of Health Toronto Public Health, said: “I am grateful for this important investment to establish a voluntary isolation centre in our city for people with COVID-19 and others at risk of infection who cannot properly isolate at home. We know that household contact is one of the most common ways that this virus is spread in the community. This isolation site is a critical step in our resurgence planning to limit virus spread and keep residents safer as we live with COVID-19.”
• The city of Toronto is Canada’s most densely populated large urban centre. This level of population density makes it difficult for some to self-isolate, contributing to a higher risk of contracting COVID-19.
• COVID-19 most commonly spreads from an infected person to another person through close contact, contaminated surfaces and common greetings.
• To prevent the spread of COVID-19, Canadians are advised to follow local public health measures, avoid places that do not have controls in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and to stay home if they are experiencing any symptoms.