The City of Toronto says it’s aiming to reopen its supervised-injection site this weekend after an marked rise insuspected opioid overdose deaths took place last month.

Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto's medical officer of health, told reporters at a news conference Thursday that the site at The Works, located on Victoria Street downtown, closed inearlyMarch due to COVID-19 concerns.

She said that last month, the city saw the highest number of suspected opioid overdose deaths recorded in any month since March 2019.

“We [had] made the extremely difficult decision to temporally close our supervised consumption service for health and safety reasons,” De Villa said.

“The Works clinic was not well set up for appropriate physical distancing. Many people who use our supervised consumption service are also more vulnerable to severe illness from COVID-19.”

De Villa reported that last month, a staff member at the clinic had tested positive for the virus, but has since recovered.

“With all of this happening we needed to temporarily close the service to reduce the risk of further virus spread,” she said.

“I know that it has been frustrating that we have not been yet able to reopen the supervised consumption service at The Works, but the team is actively working to identify a solution to resume providing these critical life-saving services.”

De Villa said that Toronto Public Health is working on establishing an appointment-based model, which they are aiming to start this weekend. 

“In the meantime we continue to provide harm reduction supplies through The Works and encourage our clients to visit other local harm reduction services in the city,” she said.