While the Dr. Margaret Savage Crisis Centre in Cold Lake was added to the list of active outbreaks by Alberta Health earlier this week, executive director for the centre Susan White said they were notified of their outbreak status on Dec. 28 “out of an abundance of caution.”
“There was one case, and this person was no longer in the shelter when we were notified,” said White.
She said the emergency shelter, which serves women and children fleeing domestic violence or living in abusive situations, does not have any positive cases right now.
“There are currently no active cases of COVID-19 linked to our shelter. There are currently two people who were close contacts who are still finishing their isolation and have no symptoms,” said White.
“There is a process in place and as soon as our 14 days are completed we intend to apply to have the outbreak status lifted.”
Although the shelter is unable to accept anyone until the outbreak status is lifted, White said they are absolutely still doing everything they can to support their clients because domestic abuse doesn’t stop when people are locked in together.
“We know it actually gets worse. And statistics are showing that the type of violence is becoming more severe,” said White.
“Shelters are absolutely still the safest place for women and children to go right now. That said, we can’t accept anyone in our shelter until we’re cleared by Alberta Health.
“We do have a full outreach team and we are still providing support over the phone. We are still able to help women find a safe place to stay.
“Our helpline is 24/7, we are there and we are fully staffed. We have our outreach team, who always works with clients who don’t need a bed. There are lots of people who have a friend they can stay with, but still need supports, going through the court system or even just supports figuring out what’s just happened and we are there for that,” said White.
The phone number for the help line is 780-594-3353. According to White, they are still able to do referrals over the phone, help connect people with the outreach team, help make safety plans, and provide that listening ear.
“The message that we really want out there is that the safety of women, children and seniors, as well as the safety of the shelter workers, those are our top priorities and so we are doing everything that Alberta Health is directing us to do,” said White.
She said that the centre’s administrative building is not included in the outbreak and they are still able to use the meeting rooms there to see clients who need the in-person support, as well as meeting in other off-site locations.
“And we don’t cross over between the buildings. We’ve always had a very limited, if you don’t need to be going somewhere you don’t go, and especially now,” said White.