TORONTO — Toronto’s senior public health official, Dr. Eileen de Villa, is asking city council for permission to reach a deal with the federal government to fund a 140-room “isolation site” run by the city. Approval would mean Torontonians who have COVID-19 and are at risk of infecting others at home could self-isolate in a free hotel room with food, laundry and Wi-Fi for up to two weeks.
Modeled after programs in New York and other cities, the program targets low-income people who are infected but, due to overcrowded living conditions and other factors, cannot guarantee they will not transmit not the virus to others.
The city estimates it would cost $ 12.7 million to operate a 140-room facility for a year.
Coun. Joe Cressy, president of Toronto Public Health, says Toronto was “very close” to securing federal funding and called the project a great investment to prevent a second major wave of COVID-19.
No site has been confirmed but De Villa suggested it could be in the northwest corner of Toronto, a predominantly working-class area that has seen some of the highest infection rates.