Beds are set up at the emergency response centre at the North Surrey Recreation Centre. (Contributed file photo)

Beds are set up at the emergency response centre at the North Surrey Recreation Centre. (Contributed file photo)

26 people test positive for COVID-19 at Surrey emergency shelter

Centre located at North Surrey Recreation Centre

Fraser Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at the Surrey Emergency Response Centre after finding evidence of transmission among staff and clients.

The emergency response homeless shelter, which initially opened to reduce the spread of COVID-19 last April, is located in the old North Surrey Recreation Centre.

As of Jan. 23, two staff members and 24 clients at the centre had tested positive for COVID-19.

“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,” a Fraser Health press release said.

“In partnership with the Fraser Health Mental Health and Substance Use team, Fraser Health Public Health is working with the site on their COVID-19 mitigation strategies and infection control measures.”

RELATED: ‘The worst is we’re full – both arenas’: North Surrey Rec Centre taking in sick homeless population

At the time the shelter opened, it consisted of “pods” that have an L-shaped wall, giving a bit of privacy between each of the beds.

Last year, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing announced 900 new spaces at 23 sites, including hotels, motels and community centres throughout B.C., for the vulnerable population to self-isolate.

The North Surrey Rec Centre is one of those spaces that was announced on April 7.

A COVID-19 outbreak at The Harrison at Elim Village in Surrey has been declared over by Fraser Health, as has an outbreak at the Peace Arch Hospital Foundation Lodge.

An outbreak at the Lodge had been declared in early December.

“With the implementation of comprehensive strategies to prevent and respond to COVID-19 in care facilities, there are no longer any COVID-19 cases at this location,” a news release notes.

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