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COVID-19 respite centre for emergency responders takes shape near Cobourg’s beach

Click to play video: 'COVID-19 respite centre for first responders takes shape at Cobourg campground' COVID-19 respite centre for first responders takes shape at Cobourg campground
A Cobourg trailer park is now being used as a respite centre for first responders and health care workers. Mark Giunta reports – Apr 15, 2020

It will be a spot for emergency workers to stay should they need to isolate due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Trailers will be set up at the Victoria Park Campground near the beach in Cobourg, Ont.

The first two trailers, which were donated by Owasco RV Centre in Clarington, arrived at the campground on Tuesday.

“What we’ve started to create here is the COVID-19 respite centre,” said police chief Paul VandeGraaf.  “It’s going to create a spot for our emergency responders — police, fire and paramedics — as well as some of the doctors, nurses and health care staff.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Cobourg cancels Waterfront Festival, Ribfest; organizers postpone Highland Games

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All of the trailers will be outfitted with the essentials for the emergency responders.

“Should anyone have to isolate, they can isolate here,” added VandeGraaf.  “The goal is to create a safe environment for someone that can’t go home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Following two incidents over the Easter weekend, two firefighters and one police officer needed to be quarantined at The Breaker’s Motel.

All three have since returned to work following negative COVID-19 test results.

Another two officers needed to self-monitor.

“You can’t move quickly if you haven’t organized and planned,” added VandeGraaf.  “One of the things we needed was a place like this.”

Click to play video: 'Peterborough health care workers to get free day care,  temporary residence during fight against COVID-19' Peterborough health care workers to get free day care, temporary residence during fight against COVID-19
Peterborough health care workers to get free day care, temporary residence during fight against COVID-19 – Mar 30, 2020

The campground, which is usually full of trailers during the summer months, is currently closed during the pandemic.

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It will be closed off to pedestrians and will only be accessible by emergency staff.

“In-addition, Northumberland Hills Hospital may bring in trailers for hospital staff who can’t secure hotel rooms,” said Shannon Murphy, Town of Cobourg emergency planner.

READ MORE: COVID-19: Cobourg, Ont. high school to be used as emergency shelter amid coronavirus pandemic

A state of emergency remains in-place in Cobourg.

All municipal facilities, amenities, parks, playgrounds and recreation fields remain closed to the public.

The Town of Cobourg activated its Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) on March 11.

“All our meetings are daily and are done virtually,” added Murphy.

“Every emergency has a recovery phase.  While we can’t predict when it will end, the focus is on the recovery phase.  How do we get back to normal when we can?  We’re focused on those plans and are creating them as we speak.”

Murphy adds the planning isn’t the difficult part. The difficult part of this is that they don’t know the date.

“Premier Ford has extended the emergency declaration for another 28 days,” said Murphy.  “Obviously now, it’s not a two-week thing, it’s at least 28 days until restrictions may be lifted.  Because of that, we can’t look at opening up playgrounds or schools.  Those decisions are at the timeline management of the province and the health officials as to when those restrictions can be lifted.”

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This is the first time the town has activated its EOC in a non-drill setting since the Horizon Plastics fire in 2005.

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