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A first reported case of COVID-19 within Montreal’s homeless community has prompted concern and questions among those who care for the city’s most vulnerable.

The Old Brewery Mission confirmed that a man who was in line for the food service outside the centre tested positive for the disease, caused by the novel coronavirus.

Montreal police showed up to the scene to inform the individual about his positive test result after he had been screened two days earlier, according to the mission.

READ MORE: Montreal announces measures to protect city’s homeless amid pandemic

Matthew Pearce, the mission’s president and CEO, said the man came into contact with some of their clients on Monday night but that he did not enter the building.

“They were not practicing social distancing in a line where you’re hungry and we’re bringing you food,” he said. “So that was something that was a problem.

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“I think we have fixed it now in terms of our protocol, so we can carry on with security with the help of the SPVM but it was tense moments there on Monday night.”

In Montreal, a hotel has been set up to house homeless citizens who are awaiting test results. As part of measures to help the homeless, the city announced the old Royal Victoria Hospital will house individuals infected with the virus but it is only expected to open at the end of this week.


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