The Government of Canada remains committed to protecting the health and safety of Canadians and reducing the spread of COVID-19 in Canada. Self-isolation is one of the most effective ways to help stop the spread of COVID-19. However, for some Canadians, crowded housing conditions and restrictive costs can make it unsafe or impossible to self-isolate, increasing the risk of community transmission.
Yesterday, Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth, announced $4.1 million, over 15 months, for Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services to continue a safe, voluntary isolation site. This site opened on December 10, 2020 and is helping Canadians in Waterloo Region who have COVID-19, or have been exposed to it, access accommodations to keep themselves and their community safe.
Voluntary isolation sites reduce the risks of spread of the virus among household contacts, especially in Canada's most densely populated urban centres. These sites are one of the rapid response tools we have to help stop the spread of COVID-19, and they can be deployed to communities facing outbreaks.
The Safe Voluntary Isolation Sites program exists to fill a gap for urban centres and municipalities that are at-risk of high rates of transmission, as evidence indicates that individuals from lower-income and densely populated neighbourhoods are disproportionately affected by COVID-19, including its most severe outcomes.
Sites selected under the Program provide a centralized location where identified individuals can safely self-isolate for the required period. Local public health officials will identify eligible individuals who may be offered the option to transfer to the isolation site on a voluntary basis. For example, if a person is COVID-19 positive and lives in a home where there is no separate room in which they can isolate, they may be considered as a candidate for the voluntary self-isolation site. Individuals from the same household may also be considered if, for example, they cannot maintain a safe distance from a positive case(s).
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