A person with a confirmed case of monkeypox was recently at a Toronto homeless shelter but has since been transferred to the city’s COVID-19 isolation and recovery facility, the city says.
In an email Sunday, the city declined to name the shelter the person went to or how long the person had been at the shelter. The city also wouldn’t say if the shelter is experiencing an outbreak as a result of the case.
The city said its Shelter Support and Housing Administration (SSHA) department initially opened the isolation and recovery facility for unaccommodated people with complex health needs who tested positive for COVID-19 but has now expanded its use.
“This location will also accommodate customers who need to isolate due to monkeypox,” the city said.
The city said it is working with health experts to limit the spread of communicable diseases, including monkeypox and COVID-19, in high-risk settings like emergency shelters. It said its protection system has “strict” infection and control measures in place, and those measures include extensive cleaning and the use of personal protective equipment.
According to the city, its protection system works with infection prevention and control specialists known as the Practice Health Check to curb the spread of communicable diseases in emergency shelters. These specialists conduct audits, training, and planning sessions with shelter providers to help them manage outbreaks. A session in June focused on monkeypox.
If unaccommodated people with monkeypox or COVID-19 need to be isolated at a shelter hotel, plans will be developed with shelter providers to ensure facilities operate in accordance with Department of Health guidelines for community isolation and outbreaks, the city said.
It said SSHA was working with Toronto Public Health to determine if a monkeypox vaccination program could be developed for the shelter system.
367 cases of monkeypox now in Ontario
Public Health Ontario reported Friday that there are 367 confirmed cases of monkeypox in Ontario, along with 12 probable cases. Of the confirmed cases, nearly 78 percent were reported in Toronto.
Almost all people who have been confirmed to be infected with monkeypox are men. Only two cases have been reported in women. The average age of those infected has so far been just under 36 years.
Eleven people with monkeypox were hospitalized and two of these people required intensive care. No deaths were reported.
TPH says on its monkeypox page: “Monkeypox is a rare viral disease that causes fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes and fatigue, followed by a rash over a person’s body. It’s usually spread through very close contact with someone who has the virus. “
According to TPH, anyone can get monkeypox, but gay and bisexual men who have sex with men “are most affected.”
It says the virus is mainly spread between people who have had close intimate or sexual contact with a person who has the virus. It does not spread through casual contact.