How Red Cross is responding to Coronavirus, COVID-19 in Ontario

Red Cross worker delivering food
In the context of COVID-19, the Canadian Red Cross is adapting its practices to continue responding to emergencies and to support the various levels of government as part of their response to the pandemic.

In Ontario, the Red Cross is working  with the federal and provincial governments and local municipalities to provide programs and services for vulnerable individuals as well as mitigate the negative impacts being felt by the COVID-19 pandemic. The health and safety of our personnel, our clients and the communities we serve is our top priority which is why we are also adapting programs and services and following guidelines as set out by the public health authorities.

Here is how the Red Cross is supporting Canadians through these challenging times:

Distributing food to those in need

In partnership with the City of Toronto, the Red Cross is assisting by delivering pre-packaged food baskets to those who are isolated at home and have no other option for food delivery or pickup services. The Red Cross is operating a call centre to identify needs and is mobilizing volunteers to deliver pre-assembled food baskets containing several days worth of shelf stable items, including canned goods, pasta, rice and other items.

For more information on the program and how to access it.

Providing comfort and care services to returning Canadians

At the request of the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Red Cross is providing comfort and care services to travellers returning to Canada. At the Toronto location, the Red Cross is providing registration and information services, the provision of personal items, meal delivery service, safety and wellbeing support, and family reunification.

Support for migrant agricultural workers in Windsor-Essex

Working in support of the City of Windsor, as well as provincial and local health authorities, the Red Cross has provided assistance at multiple isolation sites in the Windsor-Essex region, following COVID-19 outbreaks in the workplace. Red Cross teams continue to support an isolation site for workers who need to self-isolate, by providing registration, meal delivery, and personal hygiene and comfort items. 
Read about how Red Cross volunteers are providing support.

Voluntary isolation site in York Region

The Red Cross is supporting York Region’s voluntary isolation centre for individuals who need an alternative place to self-isolate while they are awaiting test results or require a place to stay to protect the health and safety of their families.  Red Cross teams are providing registration for lodging and room assignment, meal delivery service, personal hygiene and comfort items to individuals in isolation.

Support to long-term care and retirement homes

At the request of the Government of Ontario, with funding from the Government of Canada, the Red Cross is assisting long-term care and retirement homes in Ontario. The Red Cross works alongside the management and staff of each home to determine how to best support the home. Teams are providing epidemic prevention and control support to ensure health and safety protocols, as recommended by the public health authorities, are maintained throughout the home. Support Aides are working alongside existing staff to assist with various tasks which include providing comfort and care to residents through socialization and engagement. This allows existing staff to focus on direct resident care in the home. 
Here’s how one Red Cross member supported residents at a long-term care home

Friendly Calls

The Telephone Assurance Program in Simcoe County provides wellness checks and social support to individuals who may be isolated.  Staff and volunteers are increasing the number of calls to individuals in the community.

For more information on the program and to find services near you.

Door-to-door wellness checks

In partnership with the City of Ottawa and as part of  its Human Needs Task Force for COVID-19, the Red Cross conducted door-to-door Safety and Wellness checks. This outreach initially focused on the most vulnerable people in community housing across the city and extended to neighborhoods with high numbers of vulnerable, isolated seniors.  Trained volunteers visited identified residents to determine how they were managing and to ensure their basic needs were being met.

New measures implemented for the delivery of emergency relief services

With the necessity of physical distancing in mind, our Emergency Management team has mobilized a Virtual Personal Disaster Assistance team that continues to meet the needs of Ontarians who face emergencies such as house fires or floods. The virtual nature of this team allows them to continue to provide comfort and care, community referrals, and identify and meet basic needs of affected individuals from a distance.

How you can help

The Canadian Red Cross is prepared and ready to support Canadians now during the COVID-19 pandemic and into the spring and summer as we anticipate floods, wildfires and other disasters that will affect families and communities. The best way you can support our work is with a donation now to the Canadian Emergencies & COVID-19 Response Fund.

We have also opened a COVID-19 Global Appeal, which will enable the Red Cross/Red Crescent across the world to support COVID-19 preparedness, response and recovery activities.

Additional Resources

First Aid and CPR courses in your area

Interested in taking a Red Cross First Aid or CPR course? Find a course in your community or online.

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