No isolation beds exist for Victoria’s homeless COVID-19 patients

No isolation beds exist for Victoria's homeless COVID-19 patients
File Photo

As heavy rain fell Friday a few tents could be seen scattered in Victoria’s Stadacona Park and along Pandora Avenue.

They won’t likely be up for long, however, as the city confirms 24/7 sheltering remains prohibited. It turns out the rule applies even if you’re showing symptoms of COVID-19.

One woman who has been tenting along Pandora told CHEK News she recently became sick with a fever and nausea yet was forced to take her tent down by bylaw officers each morning at 7 a.m.

As a result, she was forced out into the community each day, and she says she later tested positive for COVID-19.

Turns out, there are no isolation or quarantine sites available for those living on the street who test positive for the virus.

In a statement, BC Housing says while it does have isolation plans in place for those living in BC Housing-funded shelter and housing sites, it does not mention any sites for those that remain unhoused.

Service providers Our Place and Cool Aid confirm they don’t have any facilities set up for isolation and Island Health says it doesn’t either.

Although Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps tells CHEK News Island Health is planning to open 10 isolation beds at its sobering facility on Cook Street in the days ahead for those who are homeless and COVID-19 positive. Island Health did not confirm those plans.

READ MORE: Facing rising violence, Victoria service provider shuts doors for a day

With the virus spreading rapidly in the community, the need for those spaces will likely only become more critical in the days and weeks ahead.

“This population is so vulnerable and now that we’re seeing the effects of what can happen during this fourth wave, we’ve been lucky until now, but now it’s really hitting this community badly,” said peer support worker Bruce Livingstone.

“I know that two people have been hospitalized they’re in ICU from the comfort inn site and another one of my friends is ill and what was waiting for transport to hospital,” said Jason Chadwick who currently lives in the Comfort Inn supportive housing facility.


April LawrenceApril Lawrence

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