The Portal homeless shelter in downtown Chilliwack is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak, with 27 residents and 12 staff having tested positive for the virus last week. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)

The Portal homeless shelter in downtown Chilliwack is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak, with 27 residents and 12 staff having tested positive for the virus last week. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)

LETTER: Homeless shelter COVID cases could lead to community spread

Some have not been isolating and are running around town with disregard for general public

Regarding the COVID-19 outbreak recently experienced at The Portal shelter in Chilliwack, it has come to my attention that amongst the 27-plus persons who have tested positive and were placed at the hotel to quarantine, some have not been isolating themselves as required and are running around town with total disregard for the welfare of the general public.

READ MORE: Downtown homeless shelter in Chilliwack hit with dozens of COVID-19 cases

Perhaps you are not taking this seriously enough (you know who you are) and don’t realize you are endangering people’s lives with this careless indifference and lack of empathy for others. I wonder if you’d go to your parents (or grandparents) home and risk infecting them to watch them die on a ventilator. As it stands you are endangering the lives of many people by not following a simple protocol. I would like to give you an idea of how serious this is with the examples below;

In New Brunswick, population of 776,827 spread out over an area of 72,908 square kilometres they have a total of approximately 780 cases provincewide. The Province has went from yellow to orange alert which means that all non-essential business have once again been closed and there is no visitors allowed to enter the province unless they are residents or have a valid reason. And for those who enter are being required to do a mandatory 14 self-isolation period with the RCMP strictly enforcing this isolation period and people are fined if caught not complying. Now on the other hand we have Chilliwack, a community with a population of approximately 83,790 condensed in an area of 261.6 square kilometres with 1,185 cases with many of said cases running the streets. Red flags anyone? Perhaps people in Chilliwack think they are superhuman? I’m curious to know this way of thinking. If someone can explain this to me it would be greatly appreciated. Maybe people just want to see how long it will take to overwhelm our hospital? Is a human life deemed more precious in New Brunswick?

Furthermore, if it is the rule of thumb that if you’ve been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you are to self-isolate for 14 days. Point being that it would be safe to assume that, in the case of The Portal outbreak, all clients that were living at this establishment at the time, that the 27-plus clients tested positive for COVID, should be in self-isolation. Am I wrong here? Perhaps in this case group isolation would be more appropriate? It’s a simple fact that when you have 48 people sleeping and living in an area of approximately 2,000 square feet that this would qualify as close contact. The good people at Ruth and Naomi’s are doing their best and many of the staff is also in quarantine. So it would most probably be wise and overdue for the government to step in and take control of the situation before it gets any worse.

The last three days have seen 46 people die of COVID-19 in B.C., as more than 2,354 new cases of the disease were confirmed, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced Monday.

B.C.’s 2020 death toll from street drugs is 1,548 people. The death toll from COVID-19 is 970 people.

Today, January 8, 14,788 people died of Covid-19 around the world bringing the total to 1,920,914 souls lost to date.

Jamie Leblanc

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