The North Bay Parry Sound Health Unit confirms it was involved in holding a pop-up vaccination clinic on the corner of Third Avenue and Ferguson Street in North Bay on Monday amid rumours that a COVID-19 outbreak is happening within the North Bay homeless community.
"Multiple community partners, including the Health Unit, came together on June 21 to host a community COVID-19 testing and vaccination clinic," the Health Unit stated in an email to BayToday on Tuesday afternoon.
The Health Unit stated the only COVID-19 outbreak is the one in the North Bay Jail which has expanded to 33 cases as of Tuesday.
"With the increased COVID-19 activity in the district, this clinic was carried out to facilitate testing and vaccination for individuals facing increased barriers to accessing these services. The only outbreak in the Health Unit's district is the outbreak at the North Bay Jail."
Shannon Mantha, Executive Director of Clinical Services and Chief Nursing Officer at the local Health Unit, addressed the rumour regarding a possible homeless community outbreak during last Thursday's media conference.
"Throughout the pandemic, the Health Unit, as well as all community partners in social services, health care, and other sectors have been extremely concerned about marginalized populations such as those individuals who are under-housed or who are without housing at all," Mantha stated.
"What I will say is that the health unit is currently working with community partners to reach people who face barriers accessing COVID-19 testing, vaccinations as well as other critical supports.
Mantha noted that back in April the Health Unit worked with community partners to vaccinate 50 individuals residing at local shelters in North Bay.
"Any case that is identified in any setting we follow up immediately to case and contact management to the best of our ability. In circumstances where an individual may be under-housed or without housing, there are added complications to that entire process for public health as well as community partners and that is why we really try to collaborate with community partners to wrap around clients that may be marginalized and support them with self-isolation and all the other public health measures."