Gerry Dyble, executive director of the Hope and Area Transition Society. Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard

Isolation spaces set up for people facing homelessness in Hope

No clients of Hope’s shelter or anyone sleeping rough has had to get tested yet for COVID-19

Hope has two spaces for people facing homelessness to self-isolate, should they experience symptoms and test positive for COVID-19.

Across the province 23 sites have been identified for people living on the street or in communal shelters who need to self-isolate due to exposure or symptoms, the BC government announced earlier this month. In the Fraser Health region there are four sites, three in Surrey and one in Hope, with a total of 179 spaces. These spaces include hotels, motels and community centres – including 110 spaces at the North Surrey Recreation Centre – where exactly these spaces are in Hope will not be made public.

Executive director of the Hope and Area Transition Society Gerry Dyble says luckily so far, there has been no need to use these spaces and no one who has had to get tested either from Hope’s shelter or people who are living outside.

Read more: B.C. secures motel, hotel rooms for COVID-19 shelter space

Dyble said staff are working on daily check ins and monitoring for symptoms, both those who work in Hope’s 20-bed shelter as well as staff who do wellness checks where people camp. Monitoring involves having a mental health liaison nurse asking questions about how clients are feeling and about specific symptoms. If people in the shelter need to be swabbed, public health or nurse practitioners would come in. For people living outside, they would need to go to the hospital to get a swab.

“If anybody is presenting, we have a plan that’s in place to get people tested and then isolate them to wait for tests,” she said. The plan, put together by HATS as well as BC Housing and Fraser Health, has been in place around three weeks into the pandemic.

Read more: Hope’s emergency shelter braces for COVID-19

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