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Whitehorse needle exchange, outreach van operating through COVID-19 pandemic

Blood Ties Four Directions is still offering its services amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but with extra precautions to protect clients and staff. 

Blood Ties Four Directions' drop-in centre, outreach van and needle exchange still operating

A plexiglass shield is being installed in the Blood Ties Four Directions' outreach van to protect clients and staff, said executive director Emily Jones. (Submitted by Emily Jones)

Blood Ties Four Directions is still offering its services amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but with extra precautions to protect clients and staff. 

The non-profit helps vulnerable people in Yukon through its drop-in centre, housing, needle exchange and outreach van.

"We are going to be continuing these services," said Blood Ties Four Directions executive director Emily Jones. "We feel it's really important to be part of the community during this [COVID-19] reaction because we're providing essential services for vulnerable communities."

The extra precautions include observing physical distancing recommendations and adding plexiglass shields in the outreach van and at the needle exchange.

"We're getting construction going ... to protect clients and staff so everyone is feeling safe," said Jones.

Earlier this week, Blood Ties put a call out on social media for hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. Jones says the non-profit had ordered some supplies, but they hadn't arrived yet and couldn't find any in stores.

"We just want to be able keep services running if possible, but we need all these cleaning supplies and disinfectants," she said.

Blood Ties Four Directions put a call out on social media earlier this week asking where to find hand sanitizer and disinfectants in Whitehorse. Yukon Brewing donated some of the hand sanitizer it has started producing. (Submitted by Emily Jones)

Already, Blood Ties Four Directions has received donations from the community, including some hand sanitizer manufactured by Yukon Brewing.

"We're just so grateful," said Jones.

Jones says demand for the non-profit's services remains steady. 

"There was a little bit there, when everything was adjusting in the world, where our services were definitely heightened, we had a lot more use," said Jones, but now, it has returned to normal levels.

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