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28 in isolation amid COVID-19 outbreak at The Salvation Army Centre of Hope in London, Ont.

The COVID-19 outbreak is the first one to occur at the Salvation Army Centre of Hope since the pandemic began. Global News

Dozens have been placed in isolation after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared this week at The Salvation Army Centre of Hope in London, Ont.

The centre’s executive director Jon DeActis told Global News the outbreak was declared on Wednesday by the Middlesex-London Health Unit after a number of clients at the shelter either tested positive for the virus or were identified as close contacts.

Read more: Here’s a look at Ontario’s planned timeline to lift COVID-19 restrictions

As of Thursday evening, 18 clients had been impacted by the outbreak, half of whom have tested positive while the other half were identified as close contacts, according to DeActis.

“They’re all in isolation, we’re full, but we’re isolating every single person and we’re using our chapel to isolate as well,” DeActis said.

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“The problem is the isolation beds were full, so we can’t get them moved from our place into the isolation beds, which are in the hotels, so once those beds become available we’re moving our clients into those.”

Another 10 staff members are isolating at home, three of whom have tested positive while the rest are close contacts.

Since the Centre of Hope is a congregate setting, staff are required to isolate for 10 days rather than five.

DeActis says the Centre of Hope is in contact every day with the MLHU as the outbreak continues, adding that the centre has been given increased access to PCR testing as well.

Read more: London, Ont. deputy mayor shares personal experience isolating due to COVID-19

The outbreak is the first one to occur at the Centre of Hope since the COVID-19 pandemic began and DeActis says he’s proud there’s only been one mark on the shelter’s otherwise clean record.

“We recognize that it was going to happen, it was just a matter of when. When you have everybody outside and mingling with each other, you know it’s going to be brought back in somehow,” DeActis said.

“For going two years without an outbreak, I’m very proud of our staff team, they’ve done an amazing job and they work very hard to follow the protocols we have in place.”

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