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News Release: April 23, 2020

Peel implements COVID-19 prevention measures in shelter system and collaborates with community partners to create isolation and recovery programs

Brampton, ON (April 23, 2020) – The Region of Peel is protecting the community’s most vulnerable population by implementing a range of programs and protocols aimed at preventing and managing the spread of COVID-19 in Peel’s homeless shelters, transitional housing and street outreach program.

Prevention protocols include screening and testing, personal protection equipment for front line workers, enhanced cleaning of facilities, health protection (physical distancing) signage and posters, and use of hotels to reduce shelter occupancy and ensure appropriate physical distancing. Almost half of Peel’s shelter population is currently in hotels.

"The Region of Peel places great importance on the health and safety of residents, making it critical that we protect Peel’s most vulnerable residents in our homeless shelters from the spread of COVID-19," said Nando Iannicca, Chair, Region of Peel. "Individuals experiencing homelessness have difficulty connecting with the health care system, and as a result, Peel’s comprehensive COVID-19 prevention and response program is designed to protect residents and frontline workers in our shelters and street outreach program, as well as reduce the impact to hospitals in Peel."

An isolation program was established in March 2020 and a recovery program in mid-April. The programs are focused on providing primary care to homeless individuals who may not otherwise be connected to the health care system, and reducing the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in the community.

The isolation program has capacity to shelter up to 100 households who are homeless or can’t self-isolate and who have risk factors for exposure or have been tested for COVID-19.

The recovery program supports homeless individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 and provides both medical and social supports. It has capacity to support 40 individuals.

About 4% of shelter residents are currently in isolation or recovery.

The isolation and recovery programs were developed by a collaborative intersectoral partnership of medical, public health, mental health, community care and social service experts, including:

"I feel very grateful to be working within an initiative that has highlighted the importance of preventing the spread of COVID-19 by expanding shelter system capacity as a response to support safe physical distancing,” said Dr. Naheed Dosani, Medical Director of the Region of Peel’s COVID-19 Homeless Response. “Further, the use of scaled up, mobile and on-site testing has had a very positive impact. Most importantly, I value the way this program is being run because of the focus on the provision of housing for all when this pandemic is over."

Other key partners include Peel Regional Paramedic Services who are providing testing and health checks at the isolation site, and TransHelp, which is providing transportation of individuals in the shelter system suspected or confirmed of having COVID-19. Region of Peel Housing Services and partners continue to focus on helping shelter residents find long term housing during and after isolation or recovery.

Peel’s COVID-19 shelter prevention and response program is being funded by the federal, provincial and Regional levels of government; Peel has been notified of receiving additional provincial and federal supports through the Reaching Home Emergency Funding and Social Services Relief Fund. These supports are being provided to help communities enhance their COVID-19 response capacity to:

More information is available at www.peelregion.ca/housing. Also visit peelregion.ca for information on how Regional services are being impacted to help slow the rate of the COVID-19 virus.

Media contacts

David Hodkin
Communication Specialist
Region of Peel
905-791-7800, ext. 4674

Gehna Singh-Kareckas
Manager, Strategic Client Communications
Region of Peel
Tel: 647-821-5814

The Region of Peel works with residents and partners to create a healthy, safe and connected Community for Life for approximately 1.5 million people and over 175,000 businesses in the cities of Brampton and Mississauga and the Town of Caledon. Peel's services touch the lives of residents every day. For more information about the Region of Peel, explore peelregion.ca and follow us on Twitter @regionofpeel and Instagram @peelregion.ca.