Positive cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Transition House Shelter staff and clients

Infection prevention measures in place ensure continued shelter and overnight warming room service provision for community members in need. 

Northumberland, ON – January 18, 2022 – Transition House Shelter is working with Northumberland County and the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit (HKPRDHU) to manage an outbreak of COVID-19 in the shelter system, following confirmation of positive cases among three Transition House staff and two clients. The HKPRDHU has confirmed an outbreak based on ministry guidance defining this two or more positive cases, within a 14-day period, that are epidemiologically linked to a specific shelter setting.

Affected staff members are at home self-isolating, and all clients who have tested positive are recovering in dedicated isolation spaces.

“We are working closely with our system partners to ensure outbreak management protocols are in place to reduce the spread of this virus and protect system capacity,” states shelter Executive Director Anne Newman. “In addition, we continue with daily rapid testing of all clients and staff along with any new clients entering the shelter, along with twice-daily active screening for symptoms, as part of a comprehensive infection prevention and control program. Any client who shows symptoms or tests positive is immediately moved into isolation for the recovery period.”

Further infection prevention and control measures in place at Transition House Shelter since the early days of the pandemic include:

  • Mandatory use of full PPE by staff.
  • Mandatory mask policy for clients at all times, except when eating and sleeping.
  • Enhanced environmental cleaning protocols.
  • Strict adherence to thorough hand hygiene practices.
  • Periodic on-site vaccination clinics for clients in collaboration with local health care partners.

“Homelessness system partners have taken significant steps throughout the pandemic to ensure staff and client safety while maintaining dignified and supportive shelter services for people experiencing homelessness in our community,” states Ms. Newman. “With intermittent gaps in staff resourcing creating pressures for overnight warming room service delivery, we recently temporarily consolidated shelter and warming room services at Transition House, ensuring ongoing service provision. By working with our counterparts at HKPRDHU to ensure rigorous infection prevention and control measures on-site, both shelter and overnight warming room services continue to be available to community members in need, with coordinated access via the 10 Chapel Street location.”

Community members in need of emergency shelter or overnight warming room services can visit Transition House or call 905-376-9562 for more information.

HKPRDHU reports active outbreaks on its website. While the shelter is listed on this page, the outbreak is considered active.