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Social Services Providers

This is a challenging time, especially for those of you working at the front lines with very vulnerable populations.

Some populations are at increased risk of COVID-19 transmission and more severe illness.


We recommend you work with your health authority Emergency Operations Centres (EOCs), their municipal partners and representatives of local vulnerable populations to:


  • initiate active surveillance to identify clusters/outbreaks early;
  • identify alternative spaces for housing people who may have COVID-19 and require self-isolation;
  • develop plans/arrangements to manage substance use concerns in a self-isolation setting (i.e. managed alcohol, iOAT etc.); and
  • discuss staffing needs and possible re-deployment of staff/volunteers to ensure essential social service continuity.
  • Any client/staff member with respiratory symptoms should be given a mask to wear (if available), placed in self-isolation and be tested for COVID-19.
  • If a space for self-isolation is not available, take measures to maintain physical distancing of at least two metres.
  • Staff who develop respiratory symptoms at work should:
    • put on a mask (if available), practice respiratory etiquette AND
    • go home as soon as possible and get tested.
  • If individual rooms for sick clients are not available, consider using a large, well-ventilated room to cohort symptomatic patients together.
  • A separation of two metres between ill clients and other clients will help reduce the spread of the virus. Use privacy curtains if available.
  • Restrict sick clients to their self-isolation space, including during meals and any other social activity.

This document provides guidance on providing overdose prevention services outside of an established supervised consumption or overdose prevention site (SCS/OPS), such as in acute care, shelters, supportive housing or other social service settings. 


This guidance supports staff who receive requests from patients, clients or residents to observe substance use and respond to overdose, or who recognize the benefit of providing this service. 


Volunteers who support people in their community have an important role to play in preventing the spread of COVID-19.  


Volunteers should follow guidelines for hand washing, cleaning, and physical distancing to keep themselves and the people they work with safe.


  1. If you’re ill, stay home
  2. Practice good hand hygiene
  3. Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces regularly

SOURCE: Social Services Providers ( )
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