Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart says there have been no known outbreaks or clusters of COVID-19 in the Downtown Eastside, but it’s “a matter of time” before the neighbourhood sees a rise in infections.
While an increase in COVID-19 cases is expected in communities B.C., said Stewart, the Downtown Eastside is of particular concern, as residents are vulnerable due to underlying health conditions that make it harder to combat the novel coronavirus.
Stewart says makeshift shelters at the Coal Harbour and Roundhouse community centres are up and running in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.
“Across the country, people are being told to take physical distancing seriously, but in the Downtown Eastisde it’s not as easy as just asking,” he said.
Other measures to help the Downtown Eastside include a commercial cleaning contract for high-priority, single-room occupancy hotels; the addition of bathrooms and shower facilities throughout the area; and a food delivery program for residents in private SROs.
Stewart thanked residents for “stepping up” during the COVID-19 crisis, and asked more fortunate Vancouverites to help others.
The city has launched Give a Hand Vancouver, a website where people or businesses can donate or make a low-cost offer of services and materials, such as medical supplies, cleaning products, and food.
“If you happen to be one of the few who have the resources to lend a hand, this is one very important way to do that,” Stewart said.
More than 200 people and businesses have also made contributions to the Vancouver Foundation’s Community Response Fund, which offers relief to charities that provide frontline services to those impacted by the pandemic.View link »