More self-isolation sites in the works in Manitoba as demand, COVID-19 cases rise

Manitoba health officials are working to create more spaces for people with COVID-19 and their close contacts to self-isolate, as case counts continue to increase and the demand for limited spaces rises.

Roughly 200 people were using alternative isolation accommodations offered by the province and the Red Cross on Tuesday night, a Shared Health spokesperson said in a statement Wednesday.

That includes a 39-bed shelter site for people who are experiencing homelessness that has been at or very near capacity for almost a week, the spokesperson said, as well as 16 people staying in a secondary site opened when the first shelter site filled up. 

There were also 51 people self-isolating in a hotel site run by the province, 66 people at a site operated by the Red Cross and 32 people in sites in the north, the spokesperson said.

“We are starting to feel the compression in the system,” said Lanette Siragusa, chief nursing officer for Shared Health, in a news conference Tuesday, when she provided an update on isolation accommodations in Manitoba.

Shared Health and the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority are working with the City of Winnipeg and the province to find more spaces that might be needed if cases keep rising, the spokesperson said. 

“Similar work is underway across the province,” he wrote. “In the interim, we continue to work diligently to ensure accommodation is provided to those who need it in a timely manner.”

Manitoba’s alternative isolation accommodation program offers shelter or hotel space to people who need somewhere to go to self-isolate due to COVID-19.

The spaces are available to anyone who has COVID-19, is suspected to have COVID-19 or is a close contact of someone with COVID-19, including health-care workers, people who are homeless, people who don’t have a private bedroom in their home and those who live with someone at greater risk from COVID-19, like someone who is immunocompromised.

“Every individual deemed eligible for the AIA program has been offered accommodations. There are no wait lists and we are not aware of anyone being turned away,” the Shared Health spokesperson said in a statement.

The program also provides daily health and wellness checks. Online consultations with health-care providers specialists and on-site visits from paramedics are available if needed.