These resources have been compiled to support agencies delivering essential services for those experiencing homelessness in Winnipeg. For up to date information on Public Health guidance and best practices for COVID-19, visit Shared Health Manitoba. For information on community resources and services available to individuals experiencing homelessness in Winnipeg during the pandemic, visit 211 or HelpSeeker, or our Services & Supports page.
- Screening, Testing and Isolation
- Info to Share: Posters, Infographics, Fact Sheets
- Guidelines for Serving People Experiencing Homelessness During COVID-19
Anyone aged 5 and up is eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Call 1-844-626-8222 to book a vaccination appointment for yourself or with an individual you are supporting. People booking by phone can access service in over 100 languages and request professional interpreter services to be arranged for their appointment at a super site. People with an email address and health card number can also book online. People can also use the Vaccine Finder to locate a community clinic or pharmacy that provides the vaccine, and contact it directly to book an appointment. All vaccine providers have a process for immunizing eligible people who present without a health card. People without a health card should bring any other ID they have. People can bring a support person. To receive the vaccine, a completed consent form is required. You can print the form here to fill it out ahead of an appointment.
Vaccines are administered in two doses, spaced several weeks apart. Additional (booster) doses are available to anyone aged 12 and up, five or six months after a second dose. To book a second or booster dose appointment, you will need to know when you received your last dose and the type of vaccine you received. If you do not recall this information and you have a Manitoba Health card, you can visit the Shared Health website to access this information. If you do not have a Manitoba Health card, you can contact a public health office.
If you have received and seek proof of your vaccination, you can request an immunization card online if you have a Health card, or by calling 1-844-MAN-VACC (1-844-626-8222). You can request proof of immunization at a public health office if you do not have a Health card. Proof of immunization and a piece of government-issued photo ID may be required to enter some premises. Proof of immunization and ID are not required to access most essential services like grocery stores, libraries, emergency shelters or drop-in meal programs.
Sharing accurate information about vaccination is critical, to support individuals making informed choices and plans. Download, print or share the following factsheets, posters and information:
- COVID-19 Vaccine Public Health Factsheet (Manitoba Government, December 2021)
- Manitoba – Let’s Get Vaccinated Social Sharing Toolkit (Manitoba Government, March 2021)
- Make sure you have the facts about COVID-19 vaccination (Indigenous Services Canada, March 2021)
- Let’s stop COVID-19 one arm at a time Brochure (Government of Canada, February 2021)
- Let’s stop COVID-19 Poster (Government of Canada, February 2021)
- Together, let’s stop COVID-19 Poster (Government of Canada, February 2021)
- Vaccine Information for MB First Nations with Dr. Marcia Anderson (Manitoba First Nations Provincial Coordination Response Team, December 2020)
- The facts about COVID-19 Vaccines (First Nations Health Authority, May 2021)
- COVID-19 Vaccination Conversation Tips for Homeless Service Providers (United States HUD, January 2021)
COVID-19 Screening, Testing and Isolation
What to Ask: Screening
Your employer may have a staff screening process in place for you to complete prior to each shift. Clients and visitors may also be screened. The Shared Health Online Screening Tool can help assess symptoms to determine whether testing is advised or further information and direction is needed from Health Links, Primary Care or 911. The Screening Tool is available in Interactive Voice Response format by calling 1-877-308-9038. In cases where the Screening Tool is unavailable, the following print resources can assist:
- COVID-19 symptom and exposure screening questions (Manitoba Government, March 2022)
- Public Health Guidelines for Screening Clients of Shelters (Shared Health, April 2020)
A mask or face covering may be required for entry to some indoor locations, which may also require physical distancing while indoors. Some locations may also request a temperature check before entry, or hand washing or sanitizing using supplies provided.
What to Do: If an Individual Presents with Symptoms or Isolation Needs
Symptomatic individuals may wish to complete a rapid antigen test if screening indicates the possibility of COVID-19, and the individual does not require urgent medical attention. Rapid antigen test kits are currently available free of charge people at many locations across the province. PCR testing is also available through primary health care providers for individuals who meet PCR test eligibility criteria. Call Health Links at 204-788-8200 or toll-free at 1-888-315-9257, or contact a Primary Care provider, for further information and direction as needed. Symptomatic individuals may need or wish to isolate from others. Where an individual requires transportation support to access testing or isolation, you may choose to:
- Accompany the individual on foot, maintaining physical distance of at least six feet.
- Call Health Links at 204-788-8200 or toll-free at 1-888-315-9257 to arrange a pick-up time for WRHA COVID-19 transportation with Blue Line.
- Provide cab fare and a mask. Keep the windows of the cab open if at all possible and position the individual as far apart from the driver as possible.
- While waiting for transportation, ensure the symptomatic individual maintains physical distance of at least six feet from others and wears a mask. If possible, have the individual wait in a designated area or room for symptomatic segregation that is disinfected following use.
- Driving an individual using a personal or work vehicle is not advised. If you choose to transport an individual to testing, ensure that you wear PPE and that the individual wears a mask. Keep the windows of the vehicle open if at all possible. Position yourself and the passenger as far apart as possible. Disinfect interior surfaces of the vehicle after the trip, wearing disposable gloves that are placed in the trash after use.
If Screening or Health Links indicate that a visit to Primary Care is required, but Primary Care sites are closed because it is after hours, call 431-277-5374 to inform the Alternative Isolation Accommodations manager of arrival and client information; then call Inter Facility Transport at 204-986-8410 to arrange a pick up for transportation to after hours testing and isolation. Otherwise, individuals may be directed to urgent care or emergency.
If an individual appears in medical distress or displays difficulty breathing, chest pain, confusion, drowsiness or loss of consciousness, call 911.
What Happens Next: Quarantine and Isolation
Following testing, an individual may need or wish to isolate from others. To accommodate these needs for individuals experiencing homelessness, low-barrier quarantine and isolation spaces have been established by Main Street Project and the WRHA. The Province of Manitoba has also established alternative spaces for anyone experiencing difficulty isolating. Ensure individuals discuss their options for isolation with their testing or care provider, so they can access an appropriate space as needed.
Timelines for COVID-19 PCR test results can vary. Once available, results may be accessed online or by calling Health Links at 204-788-8200 or toll-free at 1-888-315-9257. Individuals who provide a cellphone number at testing may receive a text message letting them know when their results are available online.
- How to access your COVID-19 test results (Shared Health, March 2022)
- Alternative Isolation Accommodations Available in Winnipeg: Referral Guide (Shared Health, February 2022)
- Alternative Isolation Accommodations Referral Form (Shared Health, February 2022)
- Alternative Isolation Accommodations Referral Form Completion Guidelines (Shared Health, February 2022)
- Selection Lists for Alternative Isolation Accommodations Referral Form (Shared Health, October 2021)
- Main Street Project alternative isolation community referral form (Shared Health, December 2020)
- Isolation for Individuals with Symptoms and/or Waiting for COVID-19 Test Results (Manitoba Public Health, January 2022)
- COVID-19 Exposure: If you Need to Isolate (First Nations Health and Social Secretariat of Manitoba, 2020)
- Care at home for those who have or may have been exposed to COVID-19 (Health Canada, April 2022)
- How to care for a person with COVID-19 at Home (Manitoba Public Health, August 2020)
Information to Share: Infographics, Posters and Fact Sheets
Individuals may face barriers to accessing accurate health information on COVID-19. It is extremely important to share accessible and reliable health and prevention information with everyone in the community. Place the plain language posters, graphics and fact sheets below in shared spaces, or print copies to distribute:
- How to choose, use and care for a mask is a poster showing safe use of non-medical cloth face masks. It is available in many languages (Public Health Agency of Canada, December 2021)
- How to safely use a non-medical mask or face covering offers Dos and Don’ts for non-medical cloth masks (Shared Health, August 2020)
- People who are at risk of more severe disease or outcomes from COVID-19 (Health Canada, December 2020)
- COVID-19 Precautions is a poster highlighting social distancing and transmission prevention (Shared Health, March 2020)
- Reduce the Spread of COVID-19 for Shelters Poster highlights prevention measures (Manitoba Government, April 2020). Also available as a handout.
- COVID-19 Fact Sheet for Shelters offers health and prevention information (Manitoba Government, April 2020)
- How to Hand Rub is a poster and graphic available in PDF or JPG showing how to apply sanitizer (Shared Health, March 2020)
- Wash Your Hands is a poster showing how to wash your hands and is available in many languages (Public Health Agency of Canada, April 2020)
- Hand Hygiene is a poster showing hand washing and sanitizing and is available in many languages (Manitoba Health)
How to Help Safely: COVID-19 Guidelines for Serving People Experiencing Homelessness in Winnipeg
What to Wear: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Non-Medical Cloth Masks
If you are able to maintain physical distancing of at least six feet from others, wear a non-medical cloth mask, and wash or sanitize hands frequently, PPE may not be necessary. In other cases, eye protection or face shields, procedure masks or respirator masks, and/or disposable gloves or gowns may be worn for personal protection by direct service staff.
Eye protection and face shields should be disinfected and reused if possible. Procedure masks should be disposed of every time they are removed, including the end of a shift or if they become wet or soiled. Respirator masks are considered single use. Disposable gloves should be replaced (and hands washed or sanitized) between each contact. In some settings, disposable gowns are advised. Fabric masks and face coverings are not considered PPE but should not be shared, touched by your hands while worn, or used if damp or soiled. If you’re at higher risk of more severe illness if you get COVID-19 or exposure to COVID-19 because of your work or living situation, you should wear a non-medical mask or face covering that includes a layer of filter fabric or a replaceable filter; or opt for a well-fitting procedure or respirator mask. Place worn fabric masks or face coverings directly into a bag or washing machine, launder on a hot cycle and dry thoroughly before reuse. Review applicable guidelines below and follow as best possible:
- COVID-19 PPE requirements for Community Shelter settings (Shared Health, January 2022)
- COVID-19 PPE requirements for Isolation Accommodations (Shared Health, January 2022)
- COVID-19 PPE requirements for in-home care (Shared Health, January 2022)
- COVID-19 mask use: Advice for community settings (Public Health Agency of Canada, January 2022)
- Frequently Asked Questions: Personal Protective Equipment (Shared Health, October 2021)
- COVID-19 PPE requirements for staff and visitor screenings (Shared Health, March 2021)
- COVID-19 mask use: Advice for community settings, provides guidance on mask choice, materials, fit and use (Public Health Agency of Canada, (December 2021)
- How to choose, use and care for a mask is a poster showing safe use of face masks. It is available in many languages (Public Health Agency of Canada, June 2020)
- PPE: Wearing it Right poster, also available in French (Shared Health, May 2020)
- Putting on and Taking Off PPE posters (Shared Health, February 2020)
PPE suppliers: Bargains Group; Grainger Canada; Canadian Shield makes eye protection shields. Shelters can request PPE for staff who participate in screening clients, through Shared Health Supply Chain Management: 204-926-3766 or SCMCommandIntake@sharedhealthmb.ca.
Cleaning, Disinfecting and Sanitizer
Regularly clean and disinfect surfaces that people touch often (e.g., door handles/knobs, railings, light switches, etc). Ensure surfaces are cleaned and disinfected at least twice daily. Frequently touched surfaces and objects may need to be cleaned and disinfected more often.
Cleaning removes germs and dirt using soap and warm water. Disinfecting kills germs using diluted bleach (4 tsp bleach/1L water), 70% alcohol solutions, or EPA-registered household disinfectants. Ensure disinfectant stays on the surface/object for one minute. Soft surfaces and items like rugs, curtains, toys or bedding should be cleaned with appropriate cleaners or in a washing machine using hot water if possible. Wear disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and objects, and wash or sanitize hands before and after.
- COVID-19 Holiday Decorating Guidelines (Shared Health, December 2021)
- Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces During COVID-19 (Health Canada, October 2020)
- COVID-19 Harm Reduction Tips for People who Use Drugs Infographic: PDF or PNG (Manitoba Harm Reduction Network, March 2020)
- Webinar on Supporting Harm Reduction in COVID-19 Shelter and Self-Isolation Spaces (CAEH, April 2020)
- Webinar on Harm Reduction in Housing and Shelters During COVID-19 (Homeless Hub, April 2020)
- Supporting people who use substances in shelter settings during the COVID-19 pandemic (CRISM, June 2020)
- Risk Mitigation in the Context of Dual Public Health Emergencies (BC Centre on Substance Use, March 2020)
- COVID-19, Stimulant Use and Harm Reduction (Harm Reduction Coalition, May 2020)
- Alcohol Use: Risk Mitigation Strategies during a Pandemic (First Nations Health Authority, May 2020)
- COVID-19 Guidance for Warming Shelters and Congregate Facilities (Manitoba Government, November 2020)
- Guidance for providers of services for people experiencing homelessness in the context of COVID-19 (Public Health Agency of Canada, December 2021)
- COVID-19 Information for Shelter Operators (Manitoba Government, April 2020)
- COVID-19 Factsheet: Community Serving Agencies and Outreach Work (Manitoba Public Health, April 2020)
- Outreach Guidelines During COVID-19, available in PDF or PNG, offers guidance for Street Outreach providers (MHRN, Ka Ni Kanichihk, AYO & Sunshine House, March 2020)
- Webinar and PowerPoint Slides (PDF) on COVID-19 responses for Unsheltered People (CAEH, April 2020)
Housing First/Housing Supports
- Provincial Guidance and Screening Tool for Management of Home Visits offers guidance for service providers attending an individual’s home (Shared Health, September 2021)
- Home visits during and after pandemic for Housing First workers (CAEH, July 2020)
- Preventing Eviction (CAEH, July 2020)
- Getting Back to Housing: How Canadian communities are adapting Coordinated Access to accelerate connections to permanent housing and build momentum to end homelessness once and for all (CAEH, May 2020)
- Guidance for Employees and Residents of Residential Complexes (Manitoba Government, April 2020)
- Webinar on COVID-19 Housing Responses (CAEH, April 2020)
- Family Violence Shelters information for Community Service Providers (Manitoba Association of Women’s Shelters, April 2020)
- Infographic on Considerations for Supporting Women Experiencing Intimate Partner Violence During COVID-19 (VAW Learning Network, April 2020)
- Infographic on Intimate Partner Violence in a Pandemic: COVID-19-Related Controlling Behaviours (VAW Learning Network April 2020)