Kitchener-Waterloo

Voluntary COVID-19 isolation site will soon open in Kitchener

People in Waterloo region who can’t safely isolate at home will soon have a place to do so. An interim voluntary isolation site is set to open in Kitchener as an option for those who’ve tested positive or are awaiting test results, and can’t isolate at home for the time required.

Site will give options to those who can't safely isolate at home

An exact location for the interim isolation site has not been disclosed for privacy reasons, according to Region of Waterloo Public Health. (CBC)

People in Waterloo region who can't safely isolate at home will soon have a place to do so.

An interim voluntary isolation site is set to open in Kitchener as an option for those who've tested positive or are awaiting test results, and can't isolate at home for the required time.

The site is aimed at communities hit hard by the novel coronavirus, according to Regional Chair Karen Redman.

"For some in our community, crowded housing conditions and restrictive costs can make it unsafe or impossible to self-isolate, increasing the risk of community transmission," Redman said Friday.

"Recent data from Region of Waterloo Public Health has revealed that lower income neighbourhoods, those identifying as visible minorities and those with larger household size have disproportionately been affected by COVID-19."

Regional council has approved a plan to operate the voluntary safe isolation site from Nov. 30 through to Jan. 31, 2021.

Friday afternoon, regional public health said they were still finalizing contractual details but that the site would open soon.

Eligibility

People will be eligible to use the site if they share a home with one or more other people and have either tested positive for COVID-19, or are awaiting test results.

They must also either:

  • Lack the ability to safely isolate at home for the required isolation period.
  • Need a place to isolate for personal safety reasons, such as the risk of domestic violence.
  • Have underlying health concerns that put them at risk of severe COVID-19 complications, or share a household with someone who fits that description.

The proposed site will support 30 people in a hotel space, although the exact location has not been disclosed due to privacy concerns.

It's expected to cost about $2,234 to house a person for a two-week period, including the cost of the room, food, laundry, transportation, PPE and the support of an outreach worker.

The total cost to run the space through the end of January is pegged at $75,980.

Federal funding expected

Referrals to the site will come from public health community partners as well as public health nurses, said Sharlene Sedgwick Walsh in a presentation to regional council last week.

"When the public health nurses are doing their case investigation work they do talk about the need for isolation and what's required to do that, and they are starting to hear individuals voice some of their concerns about doing that in their homes," said Walsh, who is director of healthy living and foundational standards with regional public health.

"So they would be able to also ask those questions about if they need those supports for isolation and be able to refer them to the program through that point of entry as well."

The region has applied to the federal government for funding to keep the site open longer. Walsh said they expect to hear back about funding in the coming weeks.

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