It just got a little easier for residents with COVID-19 to isolate safely to help stop the spread of the virus.
The province has opened a number of COVID-19 isolation centres, including one in downtown Oshawa.
Premier Doug Ford met with Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter at the centre for the announcement, noting placing these isolation centres in the hardest-hit neighbourhoods provides Ontarians with a “safe and secure place to self-isolate away from loved ones.”
Located at the downtown Oshawa Holiday Inn Express at 67 Simcoe St. N., Carter says these isolation centres are a benefit for those dealing with COVID-19 and is pleased to see the site is close to a hospital in case of an emergency.
“This is a good step in regards to people that need to be isolated that are dealing with COVID-19,” he says.
The isolation centres will provide a range of wraparound supports and services, including meals, security, transportation, and links to health and social services.
“All the services they’ll need will be provided to them at that location with the whole idea of making sure they’re isolated so we have an opportunity to flatten the curve,” adds Carter.
He notes not everyone can isolate at home, and these centres serve as an opportunity for people to be able to isolate without infecting others around them.
Carter says one of the biggest issues still occurring is people diagnosed with COVID-19 who are still working, shopping and travelling.
“The next think you know, it has spread,” he says. “We have to do everything we possibly can to create environments where people actually have choices so they can actually make the right decision to be part of the solution.”
The province also opened an isolation centre in Brampton and two isolation centres serving Toronto are expanding. These new centres and expansions are in addition to existing centres in the City of Ottawa, and Peel and Waterloo regions.
“We know that some communities have been more affected by COVID-19 than others, and many other people face barriers to finding a safe place to self-isolate in order to keep their families and communities safe,” says Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “Isolation centres will provide these people with the supports they need while they are self-isolating.”
In the coming weeks, Ontario will help create up to 1,525 additional beds for safe isolation with 125 beds in Oshawa, up to 840 beds in Peel, up to 280 beds in Toronto and up to 280 beds in York.
All new and expanded centres are expected to be open by the end of January 2021.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford (right) speaks with Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter while in Oshawa touring the new COVID-19 isolation centre. (City of Oshawa photo)
While Ford was in Oshawa touring the COVID-19 isolation centre, Carter was able to have a socially distanced sit-down with the premier to discuss the impact COVID-19 has had on local businesses and the community.
“I think the working relationship with the province, with our regional government, and of course local business, means a lot,” says Carter.
The mayor spoke of the financial pressures impacting the city as it continues to deliver essential services to residents and businesses, and of the significant impact the pandemic has had on the local business community.
“Smaller community-owned and family-led businesses are the pillars of Oshawa, providing thousands of jobs across the city,” says Carter, nothing local businesses have done an “incredible job pivoting time and time again to protect the safety of their customers and staff throughout this pandemic.
“Many continue to struggle under these unprecedented pressures and need government support and assistance programs from the province to survive,” he adds.
During the meeting, they also discussed their shared admiration for hospital and healthcare staff and their dedication to providing care to protect the community and save lives.
Carter says Oshawa is a centre of excellence in healthcare and a regional hub for education, training and clinical research activity, noting the need for provincial support for Oshawa’s growth as an emerging health cluster, which Carter says will further support economic recovery and create jobs.
“North Oshawa continues to be the smart choice for Lakeridge Health’s future new Durham Region healthcare campus and is the ideal location to teach and train healthcare professionals to be on the leading edge of technology,” he says, noting the location is in the vicinity of the Ontario Tech University and Durham College main campus.
Carter says when it comes to the city’s concerns, priorities and ideas for recovery, he’s looking forward to continuing to work with the premier and the province.
And as the province continues with the rollout of the vaccine, Carter says the city is ready and available to assist in any way it can.
Courtney Bachar, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Oshawa Express