Flu outbreak at Toronto homeless shelter claimed one life leaving 9 hospitalized

Toronto Public Health says it’s investigating a deadly flu outbreak at a homeless shelter in the city- Seaton House.

Associate Medical Officer of Health Allison Chris says the flu outbreak at Seaton House has left one person dead and nine others in hospital.

Chris says the outbreak was declared on Sunday and the death occurred on Wednesday.

She says the outbreak is on a “long-stay” floor of the shelter, where people generally live for extended periods.

Chris says an infection control program aimed at reducing transmission of the virus was put in place on Sunday when the outbreak was declared.

Local Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam said, “It’s happening on the fourth floor of Seaton House.”

“The fourth floor of Seaton House is primarily reserved for men who are ages 55 and older. They are typically very vulnerable, especially because they’re aged and many of them have serious mental health concerns and many of them require nursing support. They can easily be admitted into a long-term care facility except they are homeless.”

Wong-Tam added that the outbreak was preventable if city staff had better support.

Seaton House, with more than 500 beds, is the largest and one of the oldest shelters serving homeless men in Toronto.