Temporary Shelter Guidance

This guidance is intended to provide information to assist in minimizing the transmission of COVID-19 among Islanders experiencing homelessness as well as prevent and manage individual cases in shelters and facilities that support homeless individuals.

COVID-19 may have little to no symptoms - see current list of symptoms.

How is COVID-19 transmitted?

  • COVID-19 is transmitted by large droplets generated by coughing and sneezing from someone who is infected with COVID-19.
  • Droplets from an infected symptomatic person can travel up to 6 feet or 2 meters when the infected person coughs or sneezes.
  • Transmission can also occur by touching a surface contaminated with the virus and then touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

How can you help to prevent COVID-19?

  • Proper hand hygiene: Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR) with at least 60% alcohol (see Appendix A)
  • Respiratory etiquette: Cover coughs and sneezes; coughing into your sleeve or a tissue followed by hand hygiene
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth  with unwashed hands
  • Increased access to hand hygiene  and cough etiquette supplies
  • Avoid sharing personal items
  • Promote physical distancing between staff and clients (minimum of 2 metres or 6 feet)
  • Post signage throughout the facility reminding staff and clients about the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and hand hygiene.
  • Stay home when unwell and get tested if symptoms of COVID-19.

Cleaning and disinfection

  • In addition to routine cleaning, surfaces that are frequently touched should be cleaned and disinfected twice per day and when visibly dirty (i.e. doorknobs, light switches, toilet handles, handrails, etc.).
  • Environmental disinfectants that are a hospital grade, registered in Canada with a Drug Identification Number (DIN) and labelled as effective for both enveloped and non-enveloped viruses are appropriate for COVID-19.
  • In the event that commercially prepared hospital disinfectants are not available, the facility may use a diluted bleach solution to disinfect the environment. The minimum concentration of chlorine should be 5000 ppm or 0.5% (equivalent to a 1:9 dilution of 5% concentrated liquid bleach).

Shelter considerations

  • Maintain a visitor log (date and time of visits, full names and phone numbers) that can be made available to Public Health, if needed, including after hours. Records should be kept for one month to facilitate contact tracing in the event of an outbreak. These records should be stored in a safe, secure location for one month after creation of the records and then disposed of using a secure destruction method to maintain confidentiality. For paper records, secure destruction means, at minimum, cross-cut shredding.
  • Plan to have appropriate supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff and/or volunteers that may be required to provide direct care to a symptomatic shelter client.
  • Establish PPE request and allocation process via Public Safety.
  • Identify a designated space for clients who develop or are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 to isolate away from others while waiting testing and/or test results.
  • Identify an alternative location for clients with confirmed COVID-19 to self-isolate until recovered if shelter  is unable to accommodate isolation for approximately 10 days.

Screening, testing and management (staff, volunteers and/or clients)

All staff, volunteers and clients should be screened daily for symptoms - see current list of symptoms.

Staff and volunteers

  • If a staff or volunteer develops symptoms of COVID-19 at work they should immediately perform hand hygiene, put on a mask, inform their supervisor, avoid further client contact, leave as soon as it is safe to do so and arrange for testing.
  • Symptomatic staff will be required to self-isolate until they are tested and the results are confirmed.
    • If the test results are negative for COVID-19 but the staff/volunteer remains ill and/or symptomatic, they should remain away from the work site.
    • If the test results are negative for COVID-19 and the staff/volunteer is no longer ill and/or symptomatic, they may return to work.
  • If staff were exposed to a positive COVID-19 individual:
    • Self-isolate for 14 days and monitor for symptoms daily (partially or unvaccinated individuals)
    • Monitor for symptoms daily (fully vaccinated individuals)
    • If symptoms develop, arrange for testing.
  • If the test results are positive for COVID-19 the employee follows the direction of Public Health and self-isolates for 10 days or as directed.


  • If a client develops symptoms of COVID-19, they should inform a staff member and self-isolate in a designated room.
  • Staff will arrange testing for the client. The client may need support with this process e.g. transportation to the testing site.
    • Air circulation (open windows if possible) in the vehicle and maintaining 6 feet separation (client in the back seat) will minimize risk of transmission during transportation.
    • The client will wear a mask for transport.
  • Drop-in testing clinics are available across Prince Edward Island.
  • Clients awaiting results for COVID-19 will be moved to a designated location and isolate in a private room until test results are reported negative.
  • Staff/volunteers providing direct care to a symptomatic client  will use appropriate PPE (Appendix B)
  • Clients who test positive will remain at the designated location and will be required to self- isolate for 10 days.
  • Once the client has recovered (as determined by the CPHO), they are then able to be a member of the shelter and resume all normal activities.


Hand hygiene poster

Reduce the Spread of Covid-19, Wash Your Hands

Download and print hand hygiene poster from www.canada.ca/en/public-health

Contact and droplet precautions

Suspected or confirmed clients with respiratory illness (influenza-like illness, influenza, COVID-19) must follow these pre-cautions. This includes the appropriate selection and use all of the following personal protective equipment (PPE):

  • gloves
  • long-sleeved gown
  • face protection, such as a surgical or procedure mask and eye protection or face shield, or surgical/procedure mask with visor attachment.

Order to put on personal protective equipment

  1. Perform hand hygiene
  2. Put on gown
  3. Apply mask
  4. Apply face shield or goggles
  5. Put on gloves

Order to take off personal protective equipment

  1. Remove gown and gloves (can be removed together)
  2. Perform hand hygiene
  3. Remove face shield or goggles (do not touch the front of either)
  4. If appropriate, remove mask by touching only the strings or ear loops.
  5. Perform hand hygiene

All personal protective equipment should be removed before leaving a client’s room and discarded into a no-touch receptacle.

Published date: 
December 7, 2020
Health and Wellness

General Inquiries

Department of Health and Wellness
4th Floor North, Shaw Building
105 Rochford Street
Charlottetown, PE   C1A 7N8

Phone: 902-368-6414
Fax: 902-368-4121