COVID-19 and Persons Experiencing Homelessness or Vulnerable Housing [2020-04]

Across Canada, over 200,000 people experience homelessness, with nearly 130,000 in emergency shelters. Their situation presents unique challenges for controlling the spread of COVID-19:

  • People residing in shelters are at an increased risk of transmission due to crowded conditions and lack of isolation facilities.
  • Homeless or vulnerably housed people may no longer have access to safe shelters, drop-in facilities, and programs including those that maintain food security.
  • Community transmission in the shelter system could result in rapid increases of COVID-19 cases that could overwhelm the capacity of the healthcare system, including emergency departments and intensive care units.

This resource outlines considerations for medical staff working with folks experiencing homelessness suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 who are stable for shelter discharge. It includes a list of discharge do’s and don’ts.

Read the guidelines here.

Edward Xie, Andrew Bond, Kate Hayman, Jennifer Hulme, Hasan Sheikh, Aaron Orkin
Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians
April 2020