Downtown Mission guests getting rapid COVID-19 tests at aquatic centre
WINDSOR, ONT. -- Some of Windsor’s homeless people from the Downtown Mission are receiving rapid COVID-19 tests.
Homeless people that are currently temporarily sheltered at the Mission’s 850 Ouellette Avenue location, are making their way by foot to the Windsor International Aquatic Training Centre to receive a Rapid COVID test on Wednesday.
The Mission said all guests who receive a negative result (they are COVID free) will request a placement at the temporary shelter.
According to the City of Windsor, of the 10 people tested, so far three have tested positive through rapid testing and has been sent to the city’s isolation and recovery centre.
“Once tested, the individual determined to be COVID-positive accepted public health advice and is being accommodated at the municipally-run isolation and recovery motel facility,” Andrew Teliszewsky, office of the mayor chief of staff, said in a statement. “This proves that the systems put in place by the Health Unit and Coalition of social service partners that established and administer the Temporary Emergency Shelter at the Aquatic’s Centre is working.”
There were four negative test results, four people who were still waiting to be tested along with five other individuals who stayed at the Mission went to Water World Wednesday and have been sent for testing at the aquatic centre.
Downtown Mission officials said Tuesday they would be defying orders from the Windsor Essex County Health Unit and the City of Windsor to close a reopened shelter location until a plan to accommodate “all people seeking emergency shelter” is in place.
A news release issued by the city Tuesday said the mission operators shared in a letter to local media they planned to reopen a temporary shelter at the former Windsor Public Library at 850 Ouellette Avenue, which the WECHU and city have since issued orders to discontinue its use.
“The result of rapid testing this morning at the Aquatic Centre confirmed the fears that City Administration expressed when the leadership of the Mission established the rogue shelter,” Teliszewsky said. “Mixing COVID-positive persons with others has now exposed all those patrons and staff congregating at the Library site overnight to at least three individuals who has been determined to be COVID positive.”
A COVID-19 outbreak was declared last month at the Mission's Victoria Avenue location.
The WECHU issued the initial outbreak order (Section 29.2) for the Downtown Mission to restrict access to its shelter locations on Friday Feb. 19. The order included keeping the Mission’s 664 and 875 Victoria Avenue locations closed, as well as prohibiting new admissions to the organization’s temporary location.
Mission officials said Tuesday they reopened the temporary location at the former library as an emergency shelter based on “real numbers provided by staff working at the Aquatic Centre on Saturday and Sunday nights,” saying 35 people had been refused entry to the temporary emergency shelter at the aquatic centre.
The city maintains no one is being turned away from municipal facilities “but are required to follow public health guidelines and isolate as needed, should they be determined to be COVID-positive.”
The City of Windsor said it has temporarily expanded its isolation and recovery spaced in a second motel and the existing isolation and recovery centre remains open. The Salvation Army has increased their shelter bed capacity by 25 for a total of 51 beds. The Welcome Centre also continues to support the Isolation and Recovery Centre operations as well as accommodate women and families.
With files from CTV Windsor’s Angelo Aversa.