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.
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:
- Frequently Asked Questions: Personal Protective Equipment (Shared Health, May 7)
- COVID-19 PPE requirements for Community Shelter settings (Shared Health, April 21)
- COVID-19 PPE requirements for Isolation Accommodations-Sargent (Shared Health, May 4)
- COVID-19 PPE requirements for in-home care (Shared Health, April 21)
- COVID-19 PPE requirements for staff and visitor screenings (Shared Health, April 21)
- About non-medical masks and face coverings, including instructions for making your own face covering (Public Health Agency of Canada, April 16)
- Use of non-medical cloth face masks (Shared Health, April 28)
- Putting on and Taking Off PPE posters (Shared Health, February 27)
- Putting on and Taking off PPE videos (WRHA, July 2013)
- PPE: Wearing it Right poster (Shared Health, May 15)
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:
- Should I get Tested for COVID-19? Fact Sheet PDF (Shared Health, May 25)
- COVID-19 Screening Questions Poster PDF (Shared Health, April 3)
- Updated COVID-19 Testing Criteria for Self-Referrals (Shared Health, May 13)
- Public Health Guidelines for Screening Clients of Shelters (Shared Health, April 23)
- Provincial Guidance and Screening Tool for Management of Home Visits offers guidance for service providers attending an individual’s home (Shared Health, April 4)
- Outreach Guidelines During COVID-19, available in PDF or JPG, offers guidance for Street Outreach providers (MHRN, Ka Ni Kanichihk, AYO & Sunshine House, March 30)
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.
- COVID-19 Precautions is a poster highlighting social distancing and transmission prevention (Shared Health, March 27)
- Help Reduce the Spread of COVID-19 highlights prevention and symptom management (Public Health Agency of Canada, May 14)
- How to Hand Rub is a poster and graphic available in PDF or JPG showing how to apply sanitizer (Shared Health, March 17)
- Wash Your Hands is a poster from Public Health Agency of Canada showing how to wash your hands
- Physical Distancing is a poster from Public Health Agency of Canada demonstrating social distancing
- Simple Steps to Disinfect Your Home is a plain language infographic from Spence Neighbourhood Association on home hygiene
- COVID-19 Fact Sheet from Public Health Agency of Canada, also available in Cree, Oji-Cree (Syllabics) and Ojibwe, describes symptoms and prevention measures
- COVID-19 Fact Sheet for Indigenous Communities offers detailed information and links
How to Help: COVID-19 Guidelines for Serving People Experiencing Homelessness in Winnipeg
- Guidance for providers of services for people experiencing homelessness in the context of COVID-19 (Public Health Agency of Canada, March 24)
- Webinar on Preparing Homelessness Services for COVID-19 (Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness [CAEH], March 18)
- Response, Action and Wellness During a Pandemic offers guidance for shelters, quarantine, outreach, encampments, housing supports and harm reduction (OrgCode, March 20)
- Webinar and PowerPoint Slides (PDF) on COVID-19 responses for Unsheltered People (CAEH, April 1)
- Webinar on COVID-19 Housing Responses (CAEH, April 3)
- Home visits during a pandemic for Housing First workers (CAEH, May 1)
- 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 5)
- HIFIS How To : Finding and Securing Housing in an Outbreak (Homeless Hub, May 1)
- Preventing Eviction (CAEH, April 18)
- Webinar and PowerPoint Slides (PDF) on Supporting Harm Reduction in COVID-19 Shelter and Self-Isolation Spaces (CAEH, April 2)
- Webinar on Harm Reduction in Housing and Shelters During COVID-19 (Homeless Hub, April 28)
- Infection Prevention and Control conference call notes (End Homelessness Winnipeg, April 17)
- Guidance for Food Banks and Community Based Emergency Food Programs (WRHA, March 30)
- Summary Report: Youth Homelessness & COVID-19 (Homeless Hub, April 28)
- Family Violence Shelters information for Community Service Providers (Manitoba Association of Women’s Shelters, April 8)
- Infographic on Considerations for Supporting Women Experiencing Intimate Partner Violence During COVID-19 (VAW Learning Network, Apr 30)
- Infographic on Intimate Partner Violence in a Pandemic: COVID-19-Related Controlling Behaviours (VAW Learning Network Apr 30)