Charlottetown outreach centre moves to nearby school gym amid 'stressful' COVID-19 situation
'We were very fearful of not being able to provide those services'
The Community Outreach Centre located at 211 Euston St. in Charlottetown has temporarily relocated to Birchwood Intermediate School just a few blocks away in response to COVID-19.
The school's gym will serve as the centre's temporary home to allow for increased capacity to continue to provide vital services to the city's most vulnerable, while adhering to public health recommendations like social distancing.
"The outreach numbers were growing exponentially over the past several weeks," said Michael Redmond, residential manager of Bedford MacDonald House and an organizer with the centre.
"We were very fearful of not being able to provide those services."
Redmond said one of the greatest motivators to move the centre was concern over the Euston Street location's capacity to allow for precautionary measures such as social distancing.
It has access to laundry facilities and allows us to continue to provide services for Charlottetown's most vulnerable.— Michael Redmond, organizer
In looking for an alternate venue for the centre, Redmond said organizers looked for a building that could provide more space, so that they could offer greater access for those seeking services during the pandemic.
"Birchwood Junior High's gym is nice and big, it has shower access, it has access to laundry facilities and allows us to continue to provide services for Charlottetown's most vulnerable population, and that's the people who are living on the street," Redmond said.
He said the centre closed down its Euston Street location on Tuesday evening and opened at the school gym on Wednesday morning.
"There was no downtime in between," he said. "Just put a sign on the door and sent people to Birchwood as opposed to 211 Euston."
For now, Redmond said the centre's hours remain the same, from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. Staff are still on-site.
"We're doing our best to provide the services under a stressful situation."
COVID-19: What you need to know
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia, which can lead to death.
Health Canada has built a self-assessment tool.
What should I do if I feel sick?
Isolate yourself and call 811. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested. A health professional at 811 will give you advice and instructions.
How can I protect myself?
Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
Clean regularly touched surfaces regularly.
Practise social distancing.
More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.
More COVID-19 stories from CBC P.E.I.
With files from Angela Walker