On Tuesday Patty Hajdu, Canada’s Health Minister, announced $23.7 million for Ontario to operate a number of safe, voluntary isolation sites in various communities identified under the province’s High Priority Community Strategy. These sites will help residents who have COVID-19, or have been exposed to it, access safe isolation accommodations to keep themselves and their community safe.
Evidence continues to indicate that individuals from lower income and densely populated neighbourhoods are disproportionately affected by COVID-19, including its most severe outcomes. The Safe Voluntary Isolation Sites program helps cities, municipalities and health regions that are at-risk of high rates of COVID-19 transmission. Sites selected under the Program provide an accessible location where identified individuals can safely self-isolate for the required period. They 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.
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.
This funding to Ontario, provided 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.
“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,” Minister Hajdu said.