Government of Canada Announces Funding for COVID-19 Safe Voluntary Isolation Sites under Ontario’s High Priority Community Strategy
March 23, 2021 | Ottawa, Ontario | Public Health Agency of Canada
The Government of Canada is protecting the health and safety of Canadians, and reducing the spread of COVID-19 and variants of concern in Canada. Self-isolation is one of the most effective ways to help stop the spread of COVID-19. However, for some Canadians, crowded housing conditions and restrictive costs can make it unsafe or impossible to self-isolate, increasing the risk of community transmission.
Today, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, announced $23.7 million for the Province of Ontario to operate a number of safe, voluntary isolation sites in various communities identified under Ontario’s High Priority Community Strategy. These sites will help residents in the province who have COVID-19, or have been exposed to it, access safe isolation accommodations to keep themselves and their community safe.
Voluntary isolation sites reduce the risks of spreading the virus among household contacts, both in Canada’s densely populated urban centres, as well as in locations where people are faced with crowded housing and resources constraints. These sites are one of the rapid response tools we have to help stop the spread of COVID-19, and they can be deployed to communities facing outbreaks.
The Safe Voluntary Isolation Sites program exists to fill a gap for cities, municipalities and health regions that are at-risk of high rates of COVID-19 transmission. Evidence continues to indicate that individuals from lower income and densely populated neighbourhoods are disproportionately affected by COVID-19, including its most severe outcomes.
Sites selected under the Program provide an accessible location where identified individuals can safely self-isolate for the required period. Local public health officials will help determine eligible individuals who may be offered the option to transfer to the isolation site on a voluntary basis to keep them and their household contacts safe during an outbreak in their community.
“The Safe Voluntary Isolation Sites Program will support communities across Ontario, providing direct assistance to those who are unable to safely self-isolate at home. As we work with the Province of Ontario and directly with communities to stop the spread of COVID-19 and variants of concern, we need to make sure that Canadians have tools available to protect themselves and their loved ones.”
The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health
This funding to the Province of Ontario, over the course of six months, will allow the continued operation of sites in Toronto, Peel, York and Durham, totalling up to 1,600 rooms to accommodate identified individuals who are unable to self-isolate safely at home.
As part of Canada’s growing list of rapid response tools against the spread of COVID-19, the Government of Canada is providing a total of $100 million in funding to municipalities and health regions to establish Safe Voluntary Isolation Sites across the country.
To date, the Safe Voluntary Isolation Sites program is providing approximately $53 million to support projects across Ontario.
There are currently 374 rooms for residents funded in the province under the Safe Voluntary Isolation Sites Program. This latest funding will allow for an additional 1,600 rooms to be created bringing the total to approximately 1975 rooms in the province.
Regular monitoring and reporting of each safe voluntary isolation site will be conducted in coordination with local public health officials.
The sharing of best practices will be encouraged among the selected isolation sites to improve how the sites operate and how services are delivered to individuals who access the sites.
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, Canadians are advised to follow local public health measures, avoid places that do not have controls in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and to stay home if they are experiencing any symptoms.
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health
Public Health Agency of Canada
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