The COVID-19 outbreak declared by the province at the Thompson YWCA is limited to the third floor where participants in the Shelter in Place Program (SHIPP) stay and public health says the risk of infection to short-term residents is low.
Access to the third floor is through a separate entrance and interaction between SHIPP participants and staff and other clients of the YWCA is limited, but anyone who stayed at the Y from Oct. 4 to Oct. 14 is being asked by public health to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms. Visitor access to the third floor of the building has been restricted as a result of the outbreak.
“We thank the public and our partners for their outpouring of support during this challenging time,” Thompson YWCA executive director Kim Hickes said in an Oct. 16 press release. “The outbreak is contained on the third floor and it’s important for the public to know that we are maintaining our operations in the rest of the building as best we can.”
Five cases of COVID-19 infection have been linked to the facility and contact tracing investigations have been conducted by public health
“We’re very fortunate to work closely with the executive director of the Y on the contact investigation,” said Northern Regional Health Authority (NRHA) medical officer of health Dr. Michael Isaac. “They were extremely helpful to us. They’ve been working very hard to work with public health, cooperate with public health and because of that we’ve been able to successfully isolate all of the contacts identified from the cases that we’ve had at the Y. It’s gone well. We’re using our community isolation spaces that we have available and we’re trying to support people that are in isolation.”
Public health nurses are also tracking down other people that may have been in contact with the people from the Thompson YWCA who tested positive.
“We’ve got nurses that will do some outreach both at the homeless shelter and in the community to do what we call active case finding,” Isaac said. “We’ll talk to people after they’ve got some symptoms and do some swabbing if necessary.”
Not all of the recent positive COVID-19 tests in Thompson are related to the outbreak at the YWCA, Isaac says.
“We have had some cases where individuals have travelled, usually travelled to southern Manitoba. We do have enough, I think, community transmission going on, certainly in Winnipeg but other parts of southern Manitoba as well, that that is a risk factor right now for travelling to the south.”
“We really need a community effort to support the Y and its operations as they work with health officials to contain and address this outbreak,” YWCA board president Charlene Lafreniere said. “Kindness and understanding go a long way at a time like this and we know if we work together as Northerners, we can beat this.”