Quarantine cash? Hamilton eyes incentives for residents struggling with COVID-19 self-isolation

News May 27, 2020 by Matthew Van Dongen Hamilton Spectator

 

  • Cash incentives to quarantine.

    Help with groceries during self-isolation.

A university residence room where you can safely separate from family to avoid spreading COVID-19 in your home.

Public health authorities are exploring a range of possible incentives to help residents struggling with self-isolation as Hamilton tries to reopen services while preventing spikes in coronavirus infection.

Medical officer of health Dr. Elizabeth Richardson outlined a list of “post-peak” pandemic recommendations Wednesday to help the city “step up our game” to compensate for the expected decline in physical distancing.

The city has recorded more than 600 confirmed COVID-19 infections since March and Richardson said the city had 240 “active cases” at the peak of the first wave of infections. As of last week — when the city unveiled post-lockdown reopening plans — active cases were down to 201.

New recommendations include ramping up the city’s ability to track contacts of infected people, endorsing the use of double-layered cloth masks by all residents, and giving more support to families in quarantine.

Helping families cope with COVID-19 is important because nearly two out of every three COVID-19 cases are linked to infection in the home, Richardson said.

Staying separated for 14 days from family members living in the same “cramped apartment or home” is particularly challenging, Richardson said. She noted other jurisdictions have had success offering “out-of-home isolation” options to halt the spread of coronavirus within families.

With that in mind, the city reached out to McMaster University to see if up to 75 residence rooms could be used in an out-of-home isolation strategy.

It’s not a done deal.

“We are looking to see whether this might work but there are many details to discuss,” said McMaster spokesperson Wade Hemsworth. Still, he noted medical residents working in hospitals and researchers are already making use of university residence rooms for self-isolation.

Richardson said the city will first survey residents to “assess community acceptability” of the idea and report to council on who would be expected to pay. Six months using all of those rooms would cost about $700,000.

Public health is also examining other self-isolation “supports” the city could offer to residents — particularly if a new wave of infection slams the city.

Options include offering $50 to everyone who quarantines, a $15-a-week grocery supplement during self-isolation or a year of free access to city services.

The cost of such incentives is hard to predict.

The $50 quarantine incentive, for example, could cost anywhere from $162,000 to $1.4 million depending on whether or when we hit a “second peak” of infections, as well as how successful the city is in detecting new cases.

Public health will report back to council in the next month or two on which incentives — if any — should be adopted.

  • Here’s the list of “post-peak” public health recommendations for a new pandemic normal:
  • • Encourage people to get tested within 24 hours of noticing any potential COVID-19 symptoms;
  • • Beef up ability to do “intensive and timely” contact tracing of COVID-19 cases;
  • • Support infected individuals and their families during isolation and quarantine;
  • • Endorse the use of homemade, double-layered cloth masks for all members of the public;
  • • Continue emphasizing physical distancing, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette;
  • • Utilize “risk-based approach” to guide safe reopening of businesses and workplaces.

Quarantine cash? Hamilton eyes incentives for residents struggling with COVID-19 self-isolation

Two out of three community cases of COVID-19 are now related to infection in the home.

News May 27, 2020 by Matthew Van Dongen Hamilton Spectator

 

  • Cash incentives to quarantine.

    Help with groceries during self-isolation.

    A university residence room where you can safely separate from family to avoid spreading COVID-19 in your home.

    Public health authorities are exploring a range of possible incentives to help residents struggling with self-isolation as Hamilton tries to reopen services while preventing spikes in coronavirus infection.

    Medical officer of health Dr. Elizabeth Richardson outlined a list of “post-peak” pandemic recommendations Wednesday to help the city “step up our game” to compensate for the expected decline in physical distancing.

    The city has recorded more than 600 confirmed COVID-19 infections since March and Richardson said the city had 240 “active cases” at the peak of the first wave of infections. As of last week — when the city unveiled post-lockdown reopening plans — active cases were down to 201.

    New recommendations include ramping up the city’s ability to track contacts of infected people, endorsing the use of double-layered cloth masks by all residents, and giving more support to families in quarantine.

    Helping families cope with COVID-19 is important because nearly two out of every three COVID-19 cases are linked to infection in the home, Richardson said.

Staying separated for 14 days from family members living in the same “cramped apartment or home” is particularly challenging, Richardson said. She noted other jurisdictions have had success offering “out-of-home isolation” options to halt the spread of coronavirus within families.

With that in mind, the city reached out to McMaster University to see if up to 75 residence rooms could be used in an out-of-home isolation strategy.

It’s not a done deal.

“We are looking to see whether this might work but there are many details to discuss,” said McMaster spokesperson Wade Hemsworth. Still, he noted medical residents working in hospitals and researchers are already making use of university residence rooms for self-isolation.

Richardson said the city will first survey residents to “assess community acceptability” of the idea and report to council on who would be expected to pay. Six months using all of those rooms would cost about $700,000.

Public health is also examining other self-isolation “supports” the city could offer to residents — particularly if a new wave of infection slams the city.

Options include offering $50 to everyone who quarantines, a $15-a-week grocery supplement during self-isolation or a year of free access to city services.

The cost of such incentives is hard to predict.

The $50 quarantine incentive, for example, could cost anywhere from $162,000 to $1.4 million depending on whether or when we hit a “second peak” of infections, as well as how successful the city is in detecting new cases.

Public health will report back to council in the next month or two on which incentives — if any — should be adopted.

  • Here’s the list of “post-peak” public health recommendations for a new pandemic normal:
  • • Encourage people to get tested within 24 hours of noticing any potential COVID-19 symptoms;
  • • Beef up ability to do “intensive and timely” contact tracing of COVID-19 cases;
  • • Support infected individuals and their families during isolation and quarantine;
  • • Endorse the use of homemade, double-layered cloth masks for all members of the public;
  • • Continue emphasizing physical distancing, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette;
  • • Utilize “risk-based approach” to guide safe reopening of businesses and workplaces.

Quarantine cash? Hamilton eyes incentives for residents struggling with COVID-19 self-isolation

Two out of three community cases of COVID-19 are now related to infection in the home.

News May 27, 2020 by Matthew Van Dongen Hamilton Spectator

 

  • Cash incentives to quarantine.

    Help with groceries during self-isolation.

    A university residence room where you can safely separate from family to avoid spreading COVID-19 in your home.

    Public health authorities are exploring a range of possible incentives to help residents struggling with self-isolation as Hamilton tries to reopen services while preventing spikes in coronavirus infection.

    Medical officer of health Dr. Elizabeth Richardson outlined a list of “post-peak” pandemic recommendations Wednesday to help the city “step up our game” to compensate for the expected decline in physical distancing.

    The city has recorded more than 600 confirmed COVID-19 infections since March and Richardson said the city had 240 “active cases” at the peak of the first wave of infections. As of last week — when the city unveiled post-lockdown reopening plans — active cases were down to 201.

    New recommendations include ramping up the city’s ability to track contacts of infected people, endorsing the use of double-layered cloth masks by all residents, and giving more support to families in quarantine.

    Helping families cope with COVID-19 is important because nearly two out of every three COVID-19 cases are linked to infection in the home, Richardson said.

Staying separated for 14 days from family members living in the same “cramped apartment or home” is particularly challenging, Richardson said. She noted other jurisdictions have had success offering “out-of-home isolation” options to halt the spread of coronavirus within families.

With that in mind, the city reached out to McMaster University to see if up to 75 residence rooms could be used in an out-of-home isolation strategy.

It’s not a done deal.

“We are looking to see whether this might work but there are many details to discuss,” said McMaster spokesperson Wade Hemsworth. Still, he noted medical residents working in hospitals and researchers are already making use of university residence rooms for self-isolation.

Richardson said the city will first survey residents to “assess community acceptability” of the idea and report to council on who would be expected to pay. Six months using all of those rooms would cost about $700,000.

Public health is also examining other self-isolation “supports” the city could offer to residents — particularly if a new wave of infection slams the city.

Options include offering $50 to everyone who quarantines, a $15-a-week grocery supplement during self-isolation or a year of free access to city services.

The cost of such incentives is hard to predict.

The $50 quarantine incentive, for example, could cost anywhere from $162,000 to $1.4 million depending on whether or when we hit a “second peak” of infections, as well as how successful the city is in detecting new cases.

Public health will report back to council in the next month or two on which incentives — if any — should be adopted.

  • Here’s the list of “post-peak” public health recommendations for a new pandemic normal:
  • • Encourage people to get tested within 24 hours of noticing any potential COVID-19 symptoms;
  • • Beef up ability to do “intensive and timely” contact tracing of COVID-19 cases;
  • • Support infected individuals and their families during isolation and quarantine;
  • • Endorse the use of homemade, double-layered cloth masks for all members of the public;
  • • Continue emphasizing physical distancing, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette;
  • • Utilize “risk-based approach” to guide safe reopening of businesses and workplaces.