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COVID-19 outbreak at Chilliwack homeless shelter infects 37

Last Updated Jan 4, 2021 at 7:10 pm PDT

FILE - In this Wednesday, March 11, 2020 file photo, a technician prepares COVID-19 coronavirus patient samples for testing at a laboratory in New York's Long Island. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

The Portal Shelter on Yale Road has 45 beds, and the outbreak was declared Monday

Fraser Health is conducting contact tracing, increasing screening at the shelter

CHILLIWACK (NEWS 1130) — Twenty-five residents and 12 staff at a homeless shelter have tested positive for COVID-19, according to Fraser Health which has declared an outbreak.

The Portal Shelter on Yale Road has 45 beds, and the outbreak was declared Monday.

“Fraser Health is screening staff and clients, and case and contact management is ongoing. Those identified as cases and close contacts have been instructed to self-isolate,” reads a release from the health authority.

“Harm reduction and social work support is being offered on-site and to clients isolating off-site.”

Vaccination is set to become available for people who are homeless and/or living in shelters in February and March, according to the province. 

“People who experiencing homelessness, who are using shelters, who are in those situations are much more likely to end up in hospital,” Dr. Bonnie Henry said Monday, adding prisons, group homes, and mental health facilities are also settings where people are particularly vulnerable and will also be prioritized for the vaccine.