Header Photo: Mayor Colleen Smook Receives her first vaccination dose on April 7, 2021.
As of April 26, 2021 at 11:45am, all Manitobans who live within the Northern Health Region, or who work in the region regularly, are eligible to book their COVID-19 vaccination appointments.
Individuals are encouraged to make their appointments by calling (toll-free) 1-844-626-8222 (1-844-MAN-VACC) or visiting https://protectmb.ca.
Prompt Vaccination Is Critical As Third Wave Looms
As variant cases become more prevalent in Manitoba and infections increase, the province is, in many ways, racing against the crest of a third wave to ensure vaccinations are delivered promptly.
In the announcement, Dr. Joss Reimer (medical lead of the Vaccine Implementation Task Force) stressed the importance of vaccination for Manitobans:
“The vaccine is one way we can slow the spread of this virus and control the third wave of COVID-19. We are seeing that everyone, including younger people, is experiencing more severe outcomes from COVID and it is important that we adjust our eligibility criteria to reflect what we know, so we can protect those at risk. More than one-third of Manitobans have been immunized, and I’d encourage everyone to do the same as soon as they are eligible.”
Dr. Joss Reimer, Vaccine Implementation Task Force, VACCINE ELIGIBILITY EXPANDING TO PROTECT ADULTS IN NORTHERN MANITOBA, SEVEN OAKS WEST, Province of Manitoba, April 26, 2021
Edit: 25 residents are being housed in the dormitories, rather than 21 as previously reported.
With support of the City of Thompson, the Thompson Homeless Shelter, and Thompson’s Community Advisory Board on Homelessness, 25 regular users of the Thompson Homeless Shelter (THS) have been relocated to the YWCA’s dormitories to aid with social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic as of this morning. The individuals were selected based on their elevated risk, including factors like age, medical conditions, and more.
The YWCA has designated an area of the facility specifically for shelter users, and they have been screened for temperature and recent history on arrival. The YWCA is providing food, and those staying at the facility encouraged to remain near the building for the duration of the Province’s current Public Health Orders. The facility is staffed with additional security 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. No alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicants are permitted on site.
Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak has also donated hygiene hampers for the homeless residents being housed at the YWCA, including supplies like soap, shampoo, and a change of clothes.
The YWCA housing is being funded entirely through the $2.2 billion federal Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy. As part of the strategy, the federal government announced in May 2019 that it would be providing Thompson with $1.74 million in funding over 5 years (2019-2024) to support homelessness initiatives like the Thompson Homeless Shelter. This year, the City received an additional $200, 000 to support COVID-19 safety among Thompson’s homeless residents.
The Work Isn’t Over
52 individuals are still relying on the existing Thompson Homeless Shelter for a place to sleep every night, not including individuals who have homes in outlying communities but are stranded in Thompson.
After investigating the Polaris #6 building, which has been disused for 2 years, inspectors determined that the building would need more extensive repairs than previously expected before it would be suitable as emergency housing.
The City of Thompson, the Thompson Homeless Shelter, and the Community Advisory Board on Homelessness, are still investigating other possible options for pandemic-safe housing. Both the Keewatin Tribal Council and Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak have also applied for additional COVID-19 specific funding to support projects for vulnerable people in the north.
In the meantime, the RCMP’s Community Relations Unit and the City of Thompson’s CSOs continue to patrol Thompson’s downtown to help make Thompson’s homeless and at-risk residents more aware of COVID-19 and the risks it presents to their community.