Province looks for hotels, accommodations for Manitobans during COVID-19 pandemic

By | April 1, 2020

The provincial government is seeking hotels and modular housing to isolate Manitobans during the COVID-19 pandemic through a request for proposals. 

The request says the province is looking for hotels, inns, beds and breakfasts, modular housing and motels across Manitoba to provide accommodations for patients and other Manitobans affected by coronavirus or any other emergency during the pandemic. 

An online copy of the request says the accommodations could house:

  • People who need to be isolated during the pandemic.
  • People who are waiting for test results.
  • Patients who need alternative accommodations due to a shortage of space in hospitals.
  • Health-care workers who need alternative accommodations away from their families.
  • People affected by other emergency situations during the pandemic.

The request for proposals was issued on Tuesday and the province is asking for submissions by Thursday for the first roster of accommodation providers. The arrangements are expected to last until the end of September, it says.

Not for health-care services, spokesperson says

The accommodations would be used to house people who need to self-isolate but can’t do so in their own homes, such as those live with with multiple people or who don’t have a reliable place to live for a long period of time, said Paul Turenne, a spokesperson for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. 

The intention is not to deliver health-care services in these buildings, he said. 

“It’s just a place where people who are otherwise not doing too badly with their symptoms [can] self-isolate, the type of people who would be self-isolating at home anyways,” he said. 

“It’s just a recognition that not every home situation is the same.”

The province said Monday that it was looking to place people in isolation in hotels but did not mention housing for people who tested positive for COVID-19. 

“We’re looking at different places where we can help people self-isolate if they’re not able to at home, depending on where their setting is,” Shared Health systems lead Lanette Siragusa told reporters during a daily media briefing. 

“We’re looking at all options, hotels being one, but also beyond that.”

Provincial and municipal leaders in other provinces, such as Quebec, already have commandeered hotels to house patients sickened by COVID-19. 

Chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin announced seven new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the province’s total to 103.

Schools are closed indefinitely in Manitoba due to the pandemic, and the province also has ordered all non-essential businesses to close until April 14.

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