On Dec 21 2020 the provincial government announced an investment of $12.5 million towards a High Priority Communities Strategy (HPCS) which is aimed at providing funding to local lead agencies to work in partnership with Ontario Health, public health units, municipalities and other community partners to deliver key interventions for neighbourhoods most adversely affected by COVID-19.
Carea has been chosen as the lead agency for Durham Region. We will be collaborating with the following partners: Lakeridge Health, Community Care Durham, Durham Public Health, Durham EMS, and Durham Housing.
High priority neighbourhoods are selected due to their high COVID-19 prevalence, low testing rates, and sociodemographic barriers to testing. Currently, we are focusing on West Durham neighbourhoods.
The HPCS includes 3 Key Objectives:
1/ Offer Community Outreach and Engagement – increase awareness of COVID-19 to reduce transmission, provide COVID-specific health teaching, and share necessary information about available support services and provide PPE when required.
2/ Increase Access to Testing – removing barriers to ensure individuals can access testing sites. Pop-up testing sites will set up in these high priority neighbourhoods.
3/ Provide Wraparound Services – remove barriers to COVID-19 prevention by connecting people with necessary supports and services (ex. food, transportation, emergency financial assistance, etc.), while utilizing a case management approach.
As the issue with COVID-19 continues to escalate, there is a sense of urgency to operationalize the HPCS, and there will likely be further communities identified based on available Public Health data.
A COVID-19 Helpline has been set up at 1-888-969-6746