Montreal will begin vaccinating part of its homeless population in the coming days, according to an announcement by Public Health Director Mylène Drouin and Mayor Valérie Plante at a press conference on January 13.
Drouin said the city has seen 172 new cases of COVID-19 linked to the homeless community since the beginning of December.
COVID-19 vaccinations dedicated to Montreal's homeless population and community workers
Drouin confirmed that the city would begin its emergency intervention plan by vaccinating about 500 homeless people or workers in contact with the homeless population.
COVID-19 cases in community workers were found in more than eight community organizations working with Montreal's homeless, she said.
"These are outbreaks that are difficult to control [due to] the context of life of these people, who are very mobile," Drouin explained.
Mayor Plante called the COVID-19 situation in Montreal hospitals "very difficult."
She said the city's homeless shelters are nearly full with 1,366 spaces currently available.
The mayor said the city would be adding 150 emergency shelter beds in the "near future."
#COVID19 : Les ressources pour personnes en situation d'itinérance sont presque à pleine capacité malgré les 1366 p… https://t.co/JQdeu76WEp— Valérie Plante (@Valérie Plante) 1610564017.0
Some beds have been allocated to the homeless population at the Royal Victoria Hospital as they wait for a COVID-19 test result or if they've tested positive and must self-isolate.
Drouin reported over 311 current active outbreaks on the Island of Montreal.
Of those outbreaks, she said 127 are within the healthcare sector and 72 qualify as "major outbreaks" containing more than 10 cases of COVID-19.