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6 COVID-19 cases confirmed at Downtown Eastside shelter

'Because our community means the world to us, we are sharing that we are responding to cases of COVID-19 at our Downtown Eastside location,' says Union Gospel Mission
UGMshelter
The UGM shelter at 601 East Hastings St. Photo: Google Maps

Multiple COVID-19 cases have been confirmed among staff and a community member of a Downtown Eastside shelter in the past few weeks.

In a message posted to its website, Union Gospel Mission (UGM) confirmed four of the cases involved workers. A fifth was a person staying at the 601 East Hastings St. shelter.

“On Oct. 26 we were notified of three new confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Union Gospel Mission’s 601 Hastings location,” the organization explained Monday.

“Staff were last onsite on Oct. 16 and Oct. 22, the community member was last onsite Oct. 22.”

As a result, a close contact with one of the diagnosed persons is now in self-isolation, along with UGM staff – who will not return to work until they have been cleared by health authorities.

The organization said it's working to confirm any other possible close contacts – “Other community members who need to be notified of possible contact will be notified,” it assured.

On Oct. 21, UGM said it was notified about two other staff members, one a shelter worker and one in outreach services, who tested positive for COVID-19.

The earliest case confirmed at the DTES shelter was in an outreach staff member who last worked on Oct. 16.

“The wellbeing of our guests and community means everything to us. The safety of every single person who passes through our doors is always our top concern, now, more than ever – whether it’s a guest, resident, donor, staff, volunteer, or visitor,” UGM said in the notice.

“Because our community means the world to us, we are sharing that we are responding to cases of COVID-19 at our Downtown Eastside location.”

Vancouver Coastal Health has not considered UGM’s cases an outbreak at this time, it added.