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More beds across B.C. for vulnerable people to self-isolate, reduce spread of COVID-19

Citynews 1130 Vancouver

Last Updated Apr 7, 2020 at 1:20 pm PDT

FILE - Advocates say even hundreds of hotel rooms are not going to do much to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the Downtown Eastside, given there are thousands living on the streets. (Photo by Dustin Godfrey for NEWS 1130)
Summary

The spaces include hotels, motels and community centres throughout B.C.

The rooms are for a range of people, including people experiencing homelessness

Some hotels are reserved specifically for people who have COVID-19

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — The province has secured more than 900 spaces at 23 sites, including hotels, to provide safe places for vulnerable people to self-isolate and reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The spaces include hotels, motels and community centres throughout B.C.

“These new spaces are a critical part of how we can support those who are vulnerable in our community, including those who are experiencing homelessness or living in communal locations where the virus could spread more quickly,” Selina Robinson, minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, says in a release Tuesday.

“In partnership with health authorities and local government, these new spaces are helping us mitigate the effect of this virus and support our health-care system in communities across the province.”

The rooms are for a range of people, including people experiencing homelessness, those without safe spaces to self-isolate, as well as youth.

In addition, some hotels are reserved specifically for people who have COVID-19 and need a place to self-isolate while they recover, according to the province.

Other spaces are for patients being discharged from hospitals who do not have COVID-19 and do not need emergency care, but require monitoring. That will free up beds in hospitals.

Health authorities and BC Housing will refer people to hotel rooms or community centres. Some of the facilities are already operational, while the others are expected to be ready in the next few days or weeks.

In Vancouver, BC Housing has identified six sites with 367 spaces, including the Coal Harbour and Roundhouse community centres.

Both community centres are continuing to expand operations and will be able to provide a combined 143 beds — 64 at Coal Harbour and 79 at Roundhouse — to vulnerable people in need. Each centre has separate rooms with private bathrooms available for people who need to self-isolate.

These two sites were available immediately and have the size, indoor layout, and proximity to Saint Paul’s Hospital that make them well-suited as emergency response centres for people experiencing homelessness.

More rooms have been identified to expand capacity across the province, if needed.

Non-profit societies will manage the hotel, motel and community centre spaces, with staff providing daily meals and cleaning services.

Health-care workers will ensure people get the medical attention they need, says the province.

Advocates have said hotel rooms are not going to do much to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the Downtown Eastside, given there are thousands living on the streets.