SUDBURY -- Greater Sudbury has rented an inn in the city to accommodate the city's vulnerable population who are at heightened risk of contracting COVID-19.

In April, the city rented Canada's Best Value Inn for three months. New accommodations were needed since the new city shelter downtown is not suitable for the required physical spacing during the pandemic.

The second floor has been designated an isolation centre for individuals who are homeless and could have COVID-19, and therefore need to self isolate.

"This population who live on the streets tend to be a little bit higher at risk than some other individuals," said Cindy Rose, manager of harm reduction and shelter services at the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA).

"It provides that opportunity to be able to really safely monitor their care and provide the nutrition and support that they need while they are waiting results, or if they were to have tested positive."

Nurse practitioners are also working in partnership with the CMHA to provide primary care to people in the isolation centre.

"We've also been helping develop the health-care plan and intake process, what to do, which person is admitted to the centre," said Jennifer Clement, executive director of the Sudbury District Nurse Practitioners Clinics.

"The first week, we didn't have a lot of admissions and so it was more making sure the processes were working. This week, we've increased our testing, we've have a couple people admitted and it's been going well."

In the past two weeks, there have been four people who have stayed in the isolation centre, and a total of 21 individuals staying at the shelter have been swabbed.

"We have actually tested seven people in the past week who have expressed interest of knowing whether they are positive or negative just out of concern," Rose said. "Those individuals don't necessarily need to be isolated due to being asymptomatic."

Rose said the shelter floor has capacity for 40 people each night, and all clients have access to showers, clothing and breakfast.