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Isolation rooms set up for Calgary homeless clients with coronavirus

Roughly 100  assisted self- isolation units are being made available for Calgary’s homeless population in the case of coronavirus infection, according to the Calgary Homeless Foundation.

The coordination of these units was done with the Government of Alberta, Alberta Health Services and the City of Calgary, along with homeless agencies in the city.

Arrangements have been made in Calgary shelters to accommodate the city’s homeless population while trying to adhere to social distancing public health measures. Overflow units for 350 clients were also opened at the Telus Convention Centre last week.

The self-isolation units, which are in an undisclosed hotel location, will provide medical support in a safe and private unit to ensure the spread of the coronavirus is contained, read an info sheet provided by the Calgary Homeless Foundation.

“Since the provincial state of emergency was announced, Calgary Homeless Foundation staff have been focused on the implementation of assisted self-isolation units for individuals experiencing homelessness in our city,” said Gail Boehm, Acting CEO, Calgary Homeless Foundation.

“We take this responsibility very seriously, following all health and safety protocols required in converting a space designed for recreation into what is in effect, a medical facility.”

A priority to expedite these rooms, said Mayor Nenshi

In Monday’s City of Calgary coronavirus briefing, Mayor Naheed Nenshi said they weren’t aware of any confirmed COVID-19 cases in Calgary’s homeless population. He said this assisted isolation plan had been in place for some time.

“This was a critical public health issue,” he said.

Nenshi had been leery of moving forward with the plan to create the larger warehousing of the city’s population into the Telus Convention Centre.

Units for those with coronavirus, or sick and require additional care

The Calgary Homeless Foundation is working with HomeSpace Society, AHS, CUPS Calgary and the Alex Community Health Centre to provide the supports.

Clients that have a confirmed diagnosis, experiencing symptoms and awaiting test results, significantly ill (non-COVID), diagnosed COVID-19 but require a period of recovery, or those in close contact with confirmed cases will be transferred to the location.

They expect the sites will be operational April 6.

“This is an extraordinary situation and we are encouraged by the dedication and compassion displayed by all who care for those who are experiencing homelessness in our city, and we encourage all Calgarians to continue to practice self-care and physical distancing and to lead with kindness and care for others,” said Boehm.