COVID-19 Resources for Winnipeg’s Homeless-Serving Sector

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 HelpSeeker or 211 or email [email protected].

What to Wear: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

If you are able to maintain physical distancing of at least 6ft/2m from others, PPE should not be necessary. In other cases, eye protection, procedure masks or non-medical fabric masks, and disposable gloves can be worn for personal protection by direct service staff, in addition to frequent hand washing or sanitizing and physical distancing (6ft/2m apart) from people as much as possible. Eye protection 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. Gloves should be replaced (and hands washed or sanitized) between each contact. In some settings, disposable gowns are advised. PPE is currently in very high demand so supplies may be short. Review applicable guidelines below and follow as best as possible:

PPE suppliers: Bargains Group; Viceroy Distributors; Grainger Canada; My Dope TeeSeven Oaks Janitorial ServicesScientific Supplies Centre

Community SOS is a volunteer-run project helping community organizations across the country access supplies they need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Canadian Shield makes eye protection shields; Lite Box is producing washable non-medical masks; Patent 5 Distillery is producing sanitizer free for non-profits. The Free Press has produced a Mask Maker Matchmaker to connect people making non-medical masks with those that need them.

What to Ask: Screening

All staff and visitors across Manitoba’s health system are being screened. Your employer should have a staff screening process in place for you to complete prior to each shift. Public health officials have expanded testing criteria to include all symptomatic persons.

Contacts, including clients and visitors, should be asked basic screening questions. The Shared Health Online Screening Tool can help assess symptoms to determine whether further information and direction is needed from Health Links, Primary Care or 911. In cases where the Online Screening Tool is unavailable, the following print resources can assist:

What to Do: If an Individual Presents with Symptoms

If Screening indicates an individual requires non-urgent medical attention, you can call Health Links at 204-788-8200 or toll-free at 1-888-315-9257 for further information and direction, or direct the individual to a Primary Care provider.  As of May 13,  symptomatic individuals can also self-refer to a testing site if screening questions indicate the possibility of COVID-19. As of May 11/20, a Mobile Testing service is available by referral for people who are housed but unable to leave home due to limited mobility or being immune compromised.

Where an individual requires transport to Primary Care or a testing site, you may choose to:

  • Accompany the individual on foot, maintaining physical distancing of at least six feet.
  • Call the Salvation Army between 9am-5pm daily at 204-995-2410  to arrange transportation to Primary Care or a testing facility. You may need to demonstrate that the individual has been screened and that Primary Care or testing is advised.
  • 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. Advise the driver to disinfect all interior surfaces of the cab after the trip, wearing disposable gloves that are placed in the trash after use.
  • Driving an individual using a personal or work vehicle is not recommended at this time. If you choose to transport an individual to primary care or 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 all 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 or testing is required, but Primary Care and testing sites are closed because it is after hours, individuals should 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: Isolation and Quarantine

Following testing, an individual will need to self-isolate while awaiting results. If results are positive, the individual will need to quarantine for at least 14 days. To accommodate these needs for individuals experiencing homelessness, a low-barrier isolation space has been established by Main Street Project and the WRHA.  The Province of Manitoba has also established isolation spaces for anyone experiencing difficulty self-isolating, regardless of the circumstances. Ensure the individual you are supporting discusses their options for self-isolation and quarantine with their Primary Care or testing provider, so that they are able to access the appropriate type of space for their needs.

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 at this time.

How to Help: COVID-19 Guidelines for Serving People Experiencing Homelessness in Winnipeg