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Coronavirus: Toronto asks Ontario government for more testing, funding in homeless shelters

Coronavirus: Toronto Mayor John Tory encouraged by federal, provincial acknowledgement for financial needs
WATCH ABOVE: (May 13) Toronto is continuing to see a mix of progress and set-backs when it comes to its pandemic response. Mayor John Tory is encouraged to see other levels of government mentioning municipal funding. But the city has also recorded its second death in the homeless community. Matthew Bingley reports.

Toronto is asking for increased funding and testing from the provincial government for its homeless shelters, as the province reported another 391 cases and 33 deaths across Ontario.

The Toronto Board of Health says the city has spent $200 million to open new shelter facilities and move homeless people into hotels, and is asking the province to foot part of the bill.

The board said two shelter clients have died this week after contracting COVID-19.

The city’s request comes as Ontario’s total number of confirmed cases increased to 22,313, which includes 1,858 deaths and 17,020 resolved cases.

READ MORE: Ontario reports 391 new coronavirus cases, 33 deaths as total cases top 22,300

The increase in cases represents a daily growth rate of 1.8 per cent, compared to an average growth rate 1.6 per cent in the three days prior.

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The province says it was able to test 17,768 people for the novel coronavirus yesterday, but Toronto is asking the provincial government to start proactively testing in shelters.

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“The province needs to ramp up proactive testing in all congregate living sites to protect clients and staff, including shelters, respites and drop-ins,” said Toronto Coun. Joe Cressy.

“We also know that we need to invest in supportive and affordable housing solutions in order to truly tackle chronic homelessness.”

Toronto records its first homeless death of coronavirus pandemic
Toronto records its first homeless death of coronavirus pandemic