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Temporary isolation spaces needed

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The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit is looking to increase the number of temporary isolation spaces in the community.

Louise Gagné, Director of Community Services, told the Health Unit’s weekly media conference on Wednesday that just over 15 spaces are currently available for those who don’t have a place they can isolate.

“It’s challenging to find locations that meet all of the requirements to support the needs of the self-isolation centre as well as staffing,” she says.

Gagné says if anyone in the community is interested in supporting a self-isolation centre and has expertise in that area, they’re asked to contact the Health Unit.

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“To ensure the privacy and safety of individuals in need of an isolation space details on location will not be provided,” Gagné says.

The Health Unit also discussed why an outbreak has not been declared involving the under-housed or homeless population.

Dr Carol Zimbalatti, Public Health Physician, says there are a number of reasons including cases spread throughout the community and not one location and that no additional measures could be put in place to safeguard the vulnerable population or the general public.

She also points to lessons learned from another Health Unit that declaring an outbreak in an under-housed population increased stigma and caused the general public to relax with following public health measures.

Dr. Zimbalatti also says their own experiences with declaring an outbreak at the Skyline-Lancelot Apartment building caused “significant stigma to the residents and they had difficulty in accessing many services due to this stigma.”

“The Health Unit found that there were be no benefit to declaring an outbreak, there would be difficulty in determining which cases in the community belonged to the outbreak and there would be a significant potential for harm to the under-housed and homeless population, as well as the general public by declaring an outbreak,” she says.

Three new cases of COVID-19 were reported at Wednesday morning’s media conference, bringing the total number since the pandemic began to 601 across the region.

Seventy-three cases are active with 50 of those being the Alpha Variant.

All seven Delta variant cases have been resolved.

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