Province looks for hotels, accommodations for Manitobans during COVID-19 pandemic

The provincial government is seeking hotels and modular housing to isolate Manitobans during the COVID-19 pandemic through a request for proposals.

Request for proposals says accommodations would house people requiring isolation

A 200-room hotel in Toronto is being used as a recovery centre. A request for proposals says the Manitoba government is looking for hotels and other accommodations for Manitobans impacted by COVID-19. (City of Toronto)

The provincial government is seeking hotels and modular housing to isolate Manitobans during the COVID-19 pandemic through a request for proposals. 

The request says the province is looking for hotels, inns, beds and breakfasts, modular housing and motels across Manitoba to provide accommodations for patients and other Manitobans affected by coronavirus or any other emergency during the pandemic. 

An online copy of the request says the accommodations could house:

  • People who need to be isolated during the pandemic.
  • People who are waiting for test results.
  • Patients who need alternative accommodations due to a shortage of space in hospitals.
  • Health-care workers who need alternative accommodations away from their families.
  • People affected by other emergency situations during the pandemic.

The request for proposals was issued on Tuesday and the province is asking for submissions by Thursday for the first roster of accommodation providers. The arrangements are expected to last until the end of September, it says.

Meant to help people self-isolate 

The accommodations would be used to house people who can't properly self-isolate at home, such as people who cohabitate with someone who has a chronic illness or those who are homeless, said Lanette Siragusa, chief nursing officer for Shared Health, during Wednesday's daily briefing on COVID-19 in Manitoba. 

"So we are looking at other spaces outside of people's regular dwellings because we know that the ideal location for most people to recover is at home," she said. 

The hope is that hotels can fill that need, but the province is open to other locations, she said. 

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A spokesperson for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority said the intention is not to deliver health-care services in these buildings.

However, Health Minister Cameron Friesen said Wednesday during a press conference that the provincial government is looking into building temporary hospitals or utilizing some other form of structure outside hospitals to handle COVID-19 patients in the event there is a large surge in cases. 

Provincial and municipal leaders in other provinces, such as Quebec, already have commandeered hotels to house patients sickened by COVID-19. 

Chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin announced 24 news cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the total number to 127. That includes four health-care workers. 

He said Manitoba is now seeing signs of community transmission. 

 As of April 1, a total of 10,044 tests have been performed. 

Schools are closed indefinitely in Manitoba due to the pandemic, and the province also has ordered all non-essential businesses to close until April 14.

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With files from Bartley Kives and Meaghan Ketcheson