Wendy Muckle, CEO of Ottawa Inner City Health gives Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson a tour of a community centre that will serve as a COVID-19 isolation centre for vulnerable residents starting Monday, in downtown Ottawa on Saturday, March 21, 2020. Ottawa has turned a local recreation centre into an isolation and treatment centre for homeless people with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Kawai
Ottawa opens COVID-19 isolation and treatment centre for homeless
OTTAWA — A local recreation centre in Ottawa is becoming an isolation and treatment centre for homeless people with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19.
The centre opens today, and three people are already expected stay in isolation while they await test results.
Advocates say homeless populations may be at greater risk of contracting COVID-19, and are likely to have worse outcomes because of underlying health conditions.
Wendy Muckle with Ottawa Inner City Health says homeless people can be tested for the virus by a mobile assessment van, paramedics, as well as the typical assessment centre and hospitals.
At the end of January, Ottawa became the first city in Canada to declare a homeless emergency.
Expert say COVID-19 will only exacerbated the already critical situation facing the national capital’s growing homeless population.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 23, 2020.
The Canadian Press