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Statement on COVID-19 Case at Cornerstone Housing For Women

Thursday, May 7, 2020 - Ottawa, ON - Cornerstone Housing for Women, emergency shelter and housing for women in Ottawa, has experienced its third confirmed COVID-19 case, in the last four weeks. The week of April 6th, a woman who previously showed symptoms, tested positive, and was then moved to the Routhier Community Isolation Centre. She has since fully recovered. This past week, two additional women showed symptoms, were tested as soon as possible, and placed in off-site isolation care.

Staff continue to follow protocols as set out by Ottawa Public Health and the Champlain Health Region Incident Command (CHRIC). The staff ensure that all COVID19 positive clients are comfortable and safe in a temporary isolation centre housed at the Routhier Community Centre located in Lowertown.

Cornerstone Housing for Women are exercising the utmost caution and have previously ceased all volunteer functions and programs, to mitigate risk to the community.

We are actively using the four preventative measures (physical distancing, handwashing, sneeze and cough etiquette, avoiding face touches) throughout our programs.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is being worn by staff working in all the programs. We have quadrupled our cleaning protocols at our emergency shelter and four supportive housing locations.

Heightened safety protocols include daily wellness checks that are being given to all staff, supportive housing residents, and clients on a daily basis to aid in early COVID-19 symptom detection.

We would like to acknowledge all of our staff for their hard work and dedication to address this situation and prevent the spread of COVID-19. We appreciate the collaborative community partnerships to prevent the reach of the virus, and protect people experiencing homelessness.

About the Routhier Community Isolation Centre the self-isolation centre is located at the Routhier Community Centre in Lowertown. The facility is fully accessible and has security and staff, including peers, personal support workers, nurses and physicians. The Routhier Centre plays a crucial role to the larger emergency response system to the COVID-19 pandemic, and is fully integrated with Ottawa’s hospitals, paramedics and the community assessment centre process.

To be eligible to access the centre, applicants must be 19 years of age or older, homeless or at risk of being homeless, or identifying as part of the homeless community, and able to care for themselves in their current situation. Potential applicants will be admitted on the basis of assessment of need through a number of avenues, including the assessment van, the COVID-19 assessment centre at Brewer Park, in hospital, jail or corrections, and through healthcare providers associated with Ottawa Inner City Health and Ottawa Paramedic Services.


Kia Rainbow, Executive Director of Cornerstone Housing for Women says, “I am blown away by what a phenomenal job our staff did in assessing, testing and taking action. They are vigilant and ready to take proactive action in this crisis. They were quick to help prevent the spread and ensure the women who are infected are given the proper care. We will continue to collaborate with other shelters and health care organizations to minimize the risk of this virus to people experiencing homelessness.”

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