People in the 900 block of Pandora will continue to receive essential life-saving services during the dual public health emergencies of the overdose crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the approval of Health Canada and Dr. Richard Stanwick, Chief Medical Health Officer for Island Health, effective immediately, The Harbour supervised consumption service will transition its operations to ensure overdose prevention services continue and physical distancing measures are being followed.
Starting April 3, the onsite overdose prevention site will shift to a mobile service, providing harm reduction and overdose prevention in the community. The Harbour building will remain open, serving as a triage site to support people without respiratory symptoms who are homeless and underserved. People with respiratory symptoms will be assessed and await their results at a location that supports self-isolation.
Island Health will work with the City of Victoria and BC Housing to support people to register for a location that offers adequate sanitation, food, overdose prevention and other social, health and wellness services. To date, the City has identified Topaz Park and Royal Athletic Park. This will allow for adequate physical distancing and services to promote wellness at this time.
Overdose prevention services in Campbell River, Courtenay, Nanaimo, Port Alberni, Cowichan and Victoria (provided by AVI, PHS and Cool Aid) remain open as an essential health service. Service providers at these sites are reducing the number of people accessing the site at one time to allow for adequate distancing between clients. In addition, cleaning protocols have increased, and clients are being provided with information and education about taking relevant precautions.
The Harbour is led by four agencies: Island Health, BC Emergency Health Services, Lookout Health and Housing, and Society of Living Illicit Drug Users (SOLID).