Walk-in coronavirus testing site now open in Downtown Eastside

Apr 23 2020, 5:35 pm

As part of what it says is its ongoing coronavirus preparedness planning and response in the city’s Downtown Eastside, Vancouver Coastal Health announced this week that a new walk-in testing site is now open to the public.

Located at 611 Powell Street, the site is open seven days a week, from 9 am to 4 pm.

Services at the site include:

  • Assessment and testing
  • In-person information, education, and advice
  • Support for referral and access to coronavirus response centres/hotels/other facilities as needed
  • Connection to health supports for urgent healthcare needs

Those eligible to visit the site include those who are homeless or “precariously housed” and experiencing telltale symptoms of coronavirus, including fever, new onset of cough (or exacerbation of chronic cough) and/or shortness of breath. Symptomatic clients who have been in contact with someone who has coronavirus should also be tested.

A mobile testing is also available to those who can’t access the walk-in service, and can be contacted through VCH’s COVID-19 assessment team.

On Thursday, the City of Vancouver announced new measures to help ensure that residents of the Downtown Eastside can access essential services and information, and stay safe, during the coronavirus pandemic.

For residents collecting and cashing cheques in person, the City said that peer managers redeployed from the DTES Street Market will help to manage high-volume areas, including sidewalk spaces, continuing to encourage two metres of physical distance and at Income Assistance offices and Pigeon Park Savings.

Noting that sex workers in Vancouver have experienced “significant hardship in the context of the pandemic,” the City said that it liaises directly with partners such as the Transitions Consortium and WISH Drop-In Centre to increase access to critical information, funding, and resources, including cell phone donations from Telus. City staff are also working with partners to align additional food program initiatives for sex workers and scope out an emergency relief fund for workers in Vancouver.

The City said it is also planning to seek safe community spaces for public health and gathering in the neighbourhood, including spaces for outdoor food consumption and hand-washing.

In partnership with Vancouver Coastal Health and BC Housing, the City has worked to secure 478 spaces in hotels and in two Emergency Response Centres at community centres for people experiencing homelessness.