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COVID-19 case confirmed at Union Gospel Mission

Last Updated Sep 21, 2020 at 4:48 pm PST

(Courtesy ugm.ca)

In a statement posted Monday, the Downtown Eastside organization says one resident is self-isolating

Union Gospel Mission says the decision to announce this case was due to a commitment to safety, transparency

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Union Gospel Mission has announced a case of COVID-19 among one of the residents of its transitional housing program, citing community safety and a commitment to transparency as the reasons for making this information public.

In a statement posted Monday, the Downtown Eastside organization says the resident is self-isolating.

“Our immediate thoughts and prayers are with this community member, who is now self-isolating, receiving care, and following Health Authority guidelines,” the statements says.

“For the privacy and dignity of our community, we cannot share the person’s identity, but we can tell you the individual is not in regular close contact with our guests nor frontline staff.”

RELATED: Immediate action needed on Downtown Eastside to ‘halt disastrous and fatal’ COVID-19 outbreak: UBCIC

The organization outlines a number of precautions being taken in light of this confirmed case including notifying all tenants, reducing staff on site, ensuring all residents have masks, and deep-cleaning the affected areas of their East Hastings Street building.

The statement acknowledges the vulnerability of many who rely on the organization to meet their basic needs.

“We will take all possible steps to safeguard the wellbeing of our community. We are dedicated to ensuring the safety of our guests, many of whom rely on UGM for meals, shelter and safety daily for survival. Their lives are on the line, and we will continue to serve them with dignity and respect,” it reads.

The announcement from Union Gospel Mission comes 10 days after the Union of BC Indian Chiefs called on the health authority to report all cases in the community, “so that residents of the densely populated neighbourhood can take extra precautions for their health and safety.”

Vancouver Coastal Health has issued one public exposure warning for the area, after a case was recorded at the West Pub near Carrall and East Hastings Streets. But advocates say this doesn’t mean COVID-19 isn’t spreading in the area.