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Last week, the BCCDC reported 396 identified cases in the health zone that includes the Downtown Eastside from January to September 2020. That number was more than triple the 123 cases reported at the end of August.
While other health areas in the province have also seen an increase, the increases are not as pronounced. At the end of July, there were only 48 cases in the Downtown Eastside according to the BCCDC report.
York said that while it is generally safer to be outside than inside, camp residents face many challenges, including washing their hands and using the toilet. Some do not have phones, so volunteers checked with those isolating themselves to make sure they had basic necessities.
“There are so many crises happening at the same time. The overdose crisis, the housing crisis. The virus is also on our radar, ”she said.
On Thursday evening, Vancouver council unanimously adopted a $ 30 million COVID-19 housing plan to move the homeless to hotels and apartments during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The city will buy or rent rooms in vacant hotels, apartment buildings and single occupancy hotels (SROs) and will also use two city-owned sites, including a motel in east Vancouver and the Jericho Inn. in Kitsilano, to provide shelter.
But York said SROs may not be “COVID-safe” because there were many shared spaces.
“None of the options are really ideal,” she said. “The ideal would be more consultation. Instead of moving people, allow them to shelter in place and allow them to do so safely with more resources.