As Covid-19 cases continue to rise in the Peel Region, precautionary measures are being put into place. On December 1, the Peel region opened its Covid-19 isolation center. Peel is the second location to receive funding through the Safe Voluntary Isolation Sites Program, following the funding provided to Toronto Public Health earlier this year. 

On November 26, the Government of Canada issued a news release on their website regarding the new safety measures against the Covid-19 pandemic in the Peel region and how the government is working to establish them safely and effectively.

 “The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, announced $6.5 million in funding over 16 months for Peel Public Health to establish a safe, voluntary isolation site,” read the news release. 

The government’s announcement states that this isolation site will help Canadians in the Region of Peel who were exposed to the virus and are experiencing Covid-19 symptoms. 

The site will ensure that these residents have more accessible options to keep themselves, their families, and the community safe. Densely populated neighborhoods make it difficult for some to safely self-isolate, contributing to a higher risk of contracting Covid-19. 

According to the news release, Minister of Health Patty Hajdu emphasized these concerns and the new voluntary isolation site’s significance. 

“This will help decrease community transmission of Covid-19 in the Peel region by helping individuals who cannot safely self-isolate, due to crowded housing or insufficient space for proper distancing from household contacts,” read the statement.

In September, the City of Toronto received $13.9 million to organize the first voluntary self-isolation facility in Canada as part of a pilot project. 

As stated on the Government of Canada website, “the center provides regular monitoring, and reporting of each safe, voluntary isolate site will be conducted in coordination with local public health officials.” These same practices will be followed in the newly funded Peel Region voluntary self-isolation center. 

The site will have approximately 40 units to accommodate individuals in the region who are unable to safely self-isolate at home, with the capacity to grow to 80 units, if needed. For optimal effectiveness, residents at the isolation center will be advised to practice all social distancing requirements to prevent the spread of Covid-19. 

People at home are advised to stay home, follow the measurements announced by public health officials, and avoid places that do not have any precautionary measures to spread the cases of Covid-19. 

Dr. Lawrence Loh, Peel Region Medical Officer of Health, discussed the government’s new funding.

“The Region of Peel welcomes this tremendous investment from the Government of Canada. Our situation in Peel is dire: Covid-19 cases and positivity rates are the highest they’ve been, and hospital capacity is stretched thin,” said Dr. Loh.

He went on to emphasize the consequences household transmissions have in the Covid-19 pandemic and discussed the significance of isolation centres in scenarios where members of a household aren’t able to isolate themselves properly. 

“The site is a safe place and offers an option to those challenged to self-isolate at home when they’ve been affected by Covid-19,” continued Dr. Loh. “I recognize how difficult self-isolation can be socially, emotionally, and financially, but it is what we need to do to break the chain of transmission in Peel.”

To overcome this pandemic safely and without risking lives, everyone must do their part to socially distance and ensure others’ safety. However, this sentiment was not shared with certain Mississauga residents last week. 

On November 29, police were called to a Mississauga Airbnb early in the morning and broke up a house party with 60 individuals. Over $40K were issued in fines for the two hosts and the 29 participants.

The details were announced by Deputy Chief Marc Andrews on Twitter later that day. He stated that the Peel Police and by-law officers were called to the scene where a house party was taking place in a Mississauga short-term rental unit. While there were 60 people in attendance, some managed to flee the scene upon police arrival. The 27 participants who were apprehended were fined $880 each, and the two hosts were fined a minimum of $10,000. 

“It’s a tough time for everyone; these antics help no one,” stated Deputy Chief Andrews.

NOW Magazine was able to get a statement from Airbnb about the incident. Airbnb confirmed that the party was unauthorized, and the host of the unit had no knowledge of the party at his listing.  

In an email to NOW Magazine, Airbnb’s spokesperson said that the listing had been deactivated and the possibilities of the incident will be investigated further. 

In late August, Airbnb had announced a global ban on all parties and events at Airbnb listings, which includes a cap on occupancy at 16 people. In September, the company took down more than 40 listings across Ontario to ensure people don’t host large parties.

Peel Police continues to emphasize the importance of social distancing measures on Twitter and asks residents to comply with the regulations for the safety of everyone in the community.

“The holiday season and a number of important days of celebration are being/have been affected,” read their statement. “Please do your best to abide by the current restrictions put in place to keep everyone safe, especially those who are vulnerable.”

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