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Positive COVID-19 cases at multiple City of Ottawa-run physical distancing centres

Ottawa Public Health is scheduled to conduct surveillance testing this week at the Nicholas Street facility and is expected to confirm the requirement for additional surveillance testing at Dempsey.
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Tube containing a swab sample that has tested positive for COVID-19. Photo/ Shutterstock

The City of Ottawa is dealing with positive cases of COVID-19 at its Nicholas Street and Dempsey physical distancing centres, as well as the Tom Brown Respite Centre.

In a memo, released Tuesday, February 23, Community and Social Services General Manager Donna Gray writes, "four staff, three clients, a staff member of a community partner and a security guard at the Nicholas Street Physical Distancing Centre, as well as the Tom Brown Respite Centre, have tested positive for COVID-19."

The four staff are all Community and Social Services employees working at the Nicholas Street and Dempsey Physical Distancing Centres. These staff had all previously worked from February 17 to the 22. 

Gray says Ottawa Public Health is scheduled to conduct surveillance testing this week at the Nicholas Street facility and is expected to confirm the requirement for additional surveillance testing at Dempsey.

As a result of the positive case last week at Tom Brown, ongoing surveillance testing was conducted during the weekend at the Nicholas Street Physical Distancing Centre. The results confirmed that an additional three clients tested positive for COVID-19. Two clients are currently self-isolating at the isolation centre at 40 Cobourg Street, and one client is in the hospital as a result of an unrelated medical issue.

The security guard who tested positive at the Nicholas Street location last worked at the site on February 17.

One partner staff member from the Centretown Community Health Centre working at the Tom Brown Respite Centre tested positive on the weekend. They last worked at the Respite Centre on Wednesday, February 17. They are currently self-isolating at home.

The city says the Nicholas Street Physical Distancing Centre was declared on outbreak by Ottawa Public Health and is currently not accepting male clients. In the interim, there is capacity within the men’s shelter system to take new referrals. Nicholas Street will continue to accept new referrals for women as they are able to stay in a separate area within the facility.

The Dempsey Physical Distancing Centre and Tom Brown Respite Centre remain open and are accepting clients.

Ottawa Public Health is working closely with Ottawa Inner City Health and testing partners to coordinate ongoing surveillance testing on-site and will continue to monitor the situation.

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