City of Windsor approves Isolation and Recovery Centre if province provides funding
Centre is currently empty, says CEO of Windsor Regional Hospital
The City of Windsor will support an Isolation and Recovery Centre in the city for agri-farm workers during the pandemic, but only if the province or federal government agrees, in writing, to fully fund the operation — a decision made during Monday's council meeting.
Medical officer of health Dr. Wajid Ahmed said nearly half of COVID-19 cases have been agri-farm workers, calling the isolation centre "critical" locally.
According to the city council report, eight hotels and motels in Windsor-Essex were used to house isolated workers at one point, and was later reduced to two sites.
While hundreds of people used these centres at points earlier in the year, David Musyj, the CEO of the Windsor Regional Hospital, said the hotel, which currently operates as the Isolation and Recovery Centre, sits vacant.
He also said the facility will help during a potential second wave.
"Hopefully we never have to use the hotel again," he said. "However, we're just seeing in the last 24 to 48 hours a lot of news with respect to the increase in cases provincially and a lot of concern and a lot of red flags being raised."
The province has done a warm-transfer with training to city staff, who will take over operation of the centre.
During the meeting, Jelena Payne, Commissioner of Community Development and Health Services, said the Windsor location operates as a centre for people who are homeless to isolate and recover from COVID-19.
She also mentioned there are discussions to combine the isolation centres to save on resources.
The city received $3.7 million from the province to help support Windsor's most vulnerable populations, including people experiencing homelessness.
The funding went into supporting emergency shelters, running the isolation centre, a day program at Windsor Water World to mitigate the overflow from the shelter system and extra cleaning at housing support homes.
The city used all the funding and projects a deficit of $1.4 million by the end of March 2021.
The second phase of funding provided by the province is set to come up to $4.48 million, according to the report, which will first be used to off-set this deficit.
$1.4 million deficit
This will leave "just over $3 million to invest in longer-term solutions, including capital investments, that will protect those experiencing homelessness," such as acquiring a family shelter and more beds at women's shelters.
According to the report, 30 individuals experiencing homelessness were accommodated in the City's Isolation and Recovery Centre from its opening in Apr. through to Sept. 1.