A 2019 photo of the site of what is now The Cove Shelter, which is operated by Surrey Urban Mission Society. Crews were working inside of this corner unit just days before it officially opened. (File photo: Lauren Collins)

A 2019 photo of the site of what is now The Cove Shelter, which is operated by Surrey Urban Mission Society. Crews were working inside of this corner unit just days before it officially opened. (File photo: Lauren Collins)

Fraser Health declares COVID-19 outbreak at Surrey shelter as 17 people test positive

SUMS executive director says ‘it’s a group that we really have to work hard to protect’

Fraser Health has declared an outbreak at The Cove Shelter in Whalley.

According to an information bulletin Wednesday (Dec. 2), there has been 17 people, who “recently worked at or accessed site services,” that have tested positive for COVID-19.

Fraser Health adds that as a precaution, no new clients are being admitted at this time.

The Cove Shelter is operated by Surrey Urban Mission Society.

Mike Musgrove, the executive director of SUMS, said Thursday that “Everyone’s healthy. They’re doing OK. No one’s been hospitalized. They haven’t received any medical treatment.

“No one’s running (from this situation). They’re all facing this bravely, and so are the guests.”

Musgrove confirmed that those who have tested positive are both staff and those who had stayed at the shelter.

“I’m hoping this is a one-off and we get through this, and next thing you know, the vaccine will be coming around.”

He said SUMS has had “tons of help” from BC Housing, Fraser Health, public health, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, as well as Lookout Housing and Health Society and Options Community Services.

“It’s definitely not as bad as it could get, but certainly, it’s created a need to involve some really amazing community partners.”

SUMS operated the emergency response centre at the old North Surrey Recreation Centre. The ERC was set up in April in an attempt to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 for those experiencing homelessness who were sick.

READ ALSO: Old North Surrey rec centre converted to ‘safe spaces’ for homeless during COVID-19, April 7, 2020

READ ALSO: ‘Pods’ set up at Surrey homeless centre, June 5, 2020

Pods were spaced out throughout one of the arenas to keep people distanced.

At the time, Musgrove told the Now-Leader “the worst is we’re full – both arenas.”

READ ALSO: ‘The worst is we’re full – both arenas’: North Surrey Rec Centre taking in sick homeless population, April 11, 2020

“I think I said we’re preparing for the worst and hoping for the best,” Musgrove said Thursday. “We really do feel like we were prepared for this, but you always hope it’s never going to happen.”

As a result, he said, “this is not the worst.”

“There could be a lot worse than this, and we’re prepared for that too.”

The ERC has since closed, with people being moved to The Olive Branch Shelter in the old Surrey Food Bank building.

But Musgrove said during the ERC’s time, it was mostly people sick with the common cold.

“That remained pretty consistent throughout the entire first wave.”

But the chances of COVID-19 transmission, he said, “are so great.”

“I guess it’s no surprise and it’s a group that we really have to work hard to protect.”



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Lauren on Twitter

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An Amica White Rock resident receives the COVID-19 vaccine during a Jan. 15, 2021 clinic. (Tracy Holmes photo)
PHOTOS: South Surrey seniors grateful for ‘freedom’ of COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccination clinics at Fraser Health long-term and assisted-living sites were to wrap up Jan. 15

Surrey Council Chambers. (File photo)
Surrey city councillors complain not enough public input in committees

City has gone ‘exactly the opposite direction,’ Councillor Brenda Locke charges

A Transit Police officer and another driver were injured on Nov. 4 in a traffic crash while the officer was responding to another officers call for help catching a man who escaped custody. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Police watchdog investigating Surrey crash that injured transit cop, another driver

Crash happened 11 p.m. Nov. 4, at 128th Street and 93rd Avenue in Cedar Hills

Friends and family of murder victim Paul Prestbakmo wore memorial masks outside Surrey Provincial Court Jan. 14, 2021. (From left) Family friend Tyler Whitley, sister Angela Prestbakmo, childhood friend Jimmy Slater, brother Steve Prestbakmo, Semiahmoo First Nation councillor Roxanne Charles and sister Liz Prestbakmo. (Tracy Holmes photo)
Two accused in 2019 South Surrey murder were ‘really angry,’ pacing at party: witness

‘We had this really strong gut feeling that something was really wrong’

Semiahmoo Rock
Record-setting 10 Semiahmoo Rock players selected in B.C. junior lacrosse draft

Kaleb Borg is the highest Rock player selected, going in the second round to the Coquitlam Adanacs

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government reinforces importance of anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Most Read