OTTAWA – COVID-19 – The Government of Canada is working with partners to protect the health and safety of Canadians and to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and its variants in Canada. Self-isolation is one of the most effective ways to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
“Protecting Canadians from COVID-19 and helping stop the spread is a community effort. The Safe Voluntary Isolation Sites Program supports municipalities across Canada, including these projects in Ontario, so they can assist residents with safe places for self-isolation,” states Patty Hajdu Minister of Health.
However, for some people in Canada, crowded housing conditions and high costs can make it unsafe or impossible to self-isolate, putting themselves, their families and communities at risk through no fault of their own.
Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health back in August has announced funding for projects across Ontario to operate safe voluntary isolation sites. The funding will support the following four projects:
- the Cochrane District Social Services Administration Board for sites in Timmins, Cochrane, Hearst, Kapuskasing and Moosonee;
- the County of Hastings for a site in Belleville;
- the Kenora District Services Board for sites in Kenora and Sioux Lookout; and
- the City of Hamilton.
These sites help people who have COVID-19—or have been exposed to it—access safe isolation accommodations to keep themselves and their community safe. These are in addition to the sites available for people experiencing homelessness who need to isolate because of a positive test.
Voluntary isolation sites reduce the risk of spreading the virus among household contacts in situations where people are faced with crowded housing and do not have an alternative. These sites are one of the rapid response tools established to help stop the spread of COVID-19, and can be deployed to communities facing outbreaks.
The Safe Voluntary Isolation Sites Program directly supports cities, municipalities and health regions that are at-risk of COVID-19 community transmission. Sites selected under the Program provide an accessible location where people can safely self-isolate for the required period. Local public health officials determine eligible people who may be offered the option to transfer to the isolation site on a voluntary basis to keep them and their household contacts safe during an outbreak in their community.
Fred Eisenberger, the Mayor of Hamilton says, “We appreciate the funding and support from the Government of Canada to aid in Hamilton’s community COVID-19 response. This funding helps sustain and offset the costs of a critical support in our community response to COVID-19 providing access to isolation accommodations to eligible community members who otherwise cannot safely isolate at home—protecting their families and keeping their community safe.”
In Hasting County Warden Rick Phillips says, “On behalf of Hastings County Council, I would like to thank the Public Health Agency of Canada for their work in helping to support our vulnerable population. These isolation sites will help prevent the spread of COVID-19, especially for our residents that live in crowded or precarious housing conditions, who will now be able to safely isolate and keep themselves, and those around them safe.”