Organizations mobilizing to counter COVID-19 outbreak among Montreal's Indigenous homeless population

Support organizations in Montreal are mobilizing to respond to a major outbreak of COVID-19 that they have seen among Indigenous people experiencing homelessness.

About 80 per cent of the people who have been screened have witnessed a positive novel coronavirus diagnosis, according to a joint statement released Thursday by organizations working with homeless populations.

Among the solutions put in place, the former Royal Victoria Hospital has been transformed into a red zone centre that can accommodate 61 people and offer alcohol consumption management.

In addition, 12 places have been set up in the orange zone for people awaiting results and 14 other places in the yellow zone for those who need to be isolated following close contact.

The health and social services network is also offering clinical services adapted to needs, in particular for those with an alcohol dependence.

A containment space adapted to their needs and where they can spot familiar faces has been opened.

Organizations are also working to provide nursing and medical support provided by the health network, as well as psychosocial support, meals and activities for residents.

Partners have said they are ready to provide organizations with their expertise and training on urban Indigenous realities.

The organizations leading these initiatives are the Old Brewery Mission, Quebec Native Projects (PAQ) and the Montreal Native Community NETWORK, with the support of the CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l'Île-de-Montreal.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 7, 2020. 

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