Holland College prepping residence rooms for health-care workers

Holland College is preparing to open some of its residence rooms to health-care workers at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown, P.E.I., starting this week. 

Charlottetown campus plans to have 40 of 91 units available by Friday

Glendenning Hall is one of the residence buildings being prepped to house health-care workers on Holland College's Prince of Wales campus in Charlottetown. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

Holland College is preparing to open some of its residence rooms to health-care workers at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown, P.E.I., starting this week. 

Officials with the college say they've been working with Health PEI and the Emergency Measures Organization, and plan to have the first 40 units ready by April 17. 

"We've been very clear, right from the get-go, that we want to contribute and support their efforts, particularly here in the Charlottetown area, and particularly the QEH," said Doug Currie, vice-president of corporate and strategic development at Holland College.

Health PEI has not said how it plans to use the rooms — but in other provinces, temporary housing has been offered to health-care workers who choose to live apart from their families to prevent potential exposure to COVID-19.

91 units to be made available

Currie said the college's Glendenning Hall and the Cumberland residence have 91 units that could be used. He said the location of the college's Charlottetown campus, just under three kilometres from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, makes the residence buildings an ideal place to house health-care workers. 

Doug Currie, vice-president of corporate and strategic development at Holland College, said it's not yet clear when exactly workers might start arriving, but rooms will be ready for them in less than a week. (CBC)

"We're looking after the logistics," said Currie. "Making sure the rooms are clean, making sure laundry services, the towels, the bed sheets, making sure that we're fully equipped and prepping those 40 units for Friday."

He said only a few students are still living on campus — but that anyone left will be moving out at the end of this month. 

He said at this point it's unclear when workers might start using the rooms, and details on who will use them and for how long are still being discussed with Health PEI. 

"Things are changing fairly dramatically, very quickly, so we don't know the timelines but we will be ready to support the QEH and Health PEI and the Province of Prince Edward Island with housing units when they are required," said Currie. 

Currie said funding for the initiative hasn't yet been worked out but the plan is to offer the rooms to health-care workers free of charge. 

He said some Holland College staff will be brought in to assist, but those staff won't be responsible for cleaning — a professional cleaning company will be hired to do that work. 

COVID-19: What you need to know

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Tiredness.

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 physical distancing.

More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.

More COVID-19 stories from CBC P.E.I.



Jessica Doria-Brown


Jessica Doria-Brown is a videojournalist with CBC in P.E.I. Originally from Toronto, Jessica has worked for CBC in Newfoundland & Labrador, New Brunswick, and Ontario.


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