The provincial government is partnering with hotels, motels, and community centres across B.C. to obtain shelter spaces for homeless and vulnerable populations.
Thus far, over 900 rooms and beds have been secured for a range of people, including those experiencing homelessness, people without safe spaces to self-isolate, and youth.
“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,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, in a statement on 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.”
Some hotels have been reserved specifically for people who have contracted COVID-19 and need a place to self isolate during their recovery.
Other spaces are for hospital patients being discharged who do not have COVID-19 and don’t require emergency care, but still need ongoing health care. This measure is to free up more beds in hospitals.
Individual health authorities are working to identify people’s needs and referring them to BC Housing for placement at these shelters, some of which are up and running already and some of which expect to be ready in the coming days and weeks.
In Victoria, there are currently two shelter sites at motel rooms, providing a total of 160 spaces.
According to the provincial government, more rooms have been identified across the province and will be prepared to expand capacity if health authorities identify a need.
The day-to-day management will be overseen by non-profit societies. Staff on site will provide daily meals and cleaning services.
Health care workers will also be available to provide medical attention when necessary.
The BCCDC has set up a 2019 novel coronavirus telephone information line at 1-833-784-4397 for those who have further questions about this disease.
Anyone concerned that they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of the novel coronavirus, should contact their primary care provider, local public health office, or call 8-1-1.
The Province has also created the 1-888-COVID-19 line to connect British Columbians needing non-medical information about the coronavirus pandemic.
As of the time of publication, the total number of COVID-19 patients worldwide has risen to 1,386,771.
Over 79,000 people have died from the illness and 297,477 have made a full recovery.