Nine Circles COVID-19 Updates

Bulletin #5: April 21, 2020

For the health and safety of our clients & staff, our programs and services continue to be adapted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some things to know:

  • BUILDING ACCESS: We continue to be open Monday-Friday, 8:45am-5pm for urgent appointments, limited STI testing and treatment services, priority drop-in and other scaled back services.
    • Access to the building is through the rear door only (from the parking lot)
    • All people coming into Nine Circles will go through a screening process
    • If you have a cloth/non-medical mask, Shared Health now recommends that you wear it to protect others when in a health care centre. For info on how to properly wear & care for a cloth mask, click here.
    • If you are not sure if you should come down or not, please call us first. Our providers can often support you over the phone rather than at an in-person visit
  • DROP-IN: Clients can drop-in to use the phone or bathrooms if needed. A time limit of 10 minutes or less is in place and staff are sanitizing these areas frequently.
  • SUPPLY DISTRIBUTION: We are still distributing safer drug use supplies and naloxone and will collect used needles in sharps containers.
  • FOOD BANK: On Thursday, April 23, we will be delivering food for L-Z Food Bank Members to ensure folks can stay in their homes. Please call 204-940-6043 to make a plan if you have not yet spoken to us. Please note, Nine Circles’ Food Bank is for registered Food Bank Members only. A-K Food Bank Members will receive hampers on Thursday, April 30.
  • APPOINTMENTS: Care providers continue to do most appointments by phone. If in-person appointments are required, time will be limited to approximately 10 minutes.
  • STBBI TESTING & TREATMENT: We are doing STBBI testing and treatment for people who require immediate services based on a phone assessment with an STI Testing Nurse. Call 204-940-6000 to connect with a nurse; online booking is currently unavailable. A full list of changes to our STI program is available here.
  • PHA FUND: We are still operating the PHA fund. Clients are asked to phone their social worker and do the application over the phone.

Important Reminders

  • All Manitobans, whether they have symptoms or not, should be practicing physical distancing and other precautions:
    • Keep 2 meters/6 feet away from other people
    • Avoid greetings that involve touching
    • Cough or sneeze into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hands
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds

Bulletin #4: March 30, 2020

The health and safety of our clients, staff and volunteers is something we take very seriously at Nine Circles. As COVID-19 continues to impact the world, we want to update you on some program and service changes we are making:

Building Access

  • We continue to be open for urgent appointments, limited STI testing and treatment services, priority drop-in and other scaled back services (see details by program/service below).
  • As of Monday, March 30, we are screening all clients and staff entering our building for symptoms of COVID-19. Access to the building is through the rear door only (from the parking lot).
  • When you arrive, a nurse will ask you a series of questions about your health and travel history.
  • We will limit the number of people waiting to be screened inside the building to 3, so you may be asked to wait outside if lots of folks arrive at the same time.
  • People who don’t have symptoms of COVID-19, have not travelled in the last 14 days, and need to access Nine Circles supports and services will be let into the building.
  • We have adapted how people are moving through the building to support physical distancing, so please follow directions of Nine Circles staff on where to go.
  • To protect your own health and the health of our staff and other clients, please maintain a distance of 2 meters/6 feet from everyone you encounter. Exceptions will be made by health providers when treatment/assessments require closer contact.
  • If you are not sure if you should come down or not, please call us first. Our providers can often support you over the phone rather than at an in-person visit.

Change of hours

  • On Wednesdays, we are adjusting our hours and will close earlier. We will now close at 5pm Monday-Friday.

Drop-in & Appointments

  • Drop-in access to use the washrooms is limited to 10 minutes. Clients will be let in by staff who will ensure the bathroom is sanitized.
  • Drop-in access to use the phone is limited to 5 minutes. Staff are sanitizing the phone regularly.
  • Doctors and nurses are looking at each booked appointment and where possible doing phone appointments, telehealth etc.  In-person appointments that need to occur are reduced to approximately 10 minutes and routine appointments are being re-booked.

STI Testing & Treatment

  • We have modified our testing services to meet social distancing recommendations. Until further notice, we are only doing STBBI testing and treatment for people who require immediate services based on a phone assessment with an STI Testing Nurse.
  • If you think you need testing, please call 204-940-6000 to speak directly with a nurse or leave a message for a return call within 1-2 business days.
  • View the full list of changes to our STI Testing & Treatment services here.

Supply Distribution

  • We are still distributing safer drug use supplies and naloxone
  • Supplies are pre-bagged
  • We are asking folks to take more supplies than they may normally take to minimize the number of times you need to come in.

PHA Fund

  • We are still operating the PHA fund. Clients are asked to phone their social worker and do the application over the phone. Responses will be sent out by mail, or people can also connect with their social worker for follow up.

Food Bank

  • This week, we will be delivering food to A-K Food Bank Members to ensure folks can stay in their homes. Please call 204-940-6043 to make a plan if you have not yet spoken to us. Please note, Nine Circles’ Food Bank is for registered Food Bank Members only.
  • Winnipeg Harvest is adjusting their distribution strategy to accommodate volume increases:
    • There will be one hamper every 4 weeks per registered address.
    • The larger hamper is intended to provide support for a 10-14-day period.
    • Hampers will include a selection of non-perishable items including Canned Soup, Canned Vegetables, Pasta and Sauce, Dry Lentils, Bouillon cubes, Oatmeal, Rice, Peanut Butter, Canned Meat, Pancake Mix, Crackers, Cookies, and other items as available.
  • Our current delivery schedule (subject to change) is:
    • April 2: A-K
    • April 23: L-Z
    • April 30: A-K

Important Reminders

Per recommendations from Shared Health, the following individuals should NOT visit any health care facilities. Those who have:

  • Returned from travel, including travel within Canada, in the last 14 days, OR
  • Had exposure to a confirmed COVID-19 case within 14 days prior to onset of illness
    (Note: Exposure may include scenarios or settings like: large events with confirmed case(s) of COVID-19.)
  • Had close contact with someone being tested for COVID-19 at this time
  • Been instructed to self-isolate or self-monitor for 14 days
  • Cold or flu-like symptoms (cough, fever, runny nose, sore throat, weakness or headache)
  • Nine Circles is not a COVID-19 testing site. If you meet the above criteria, please call Health Links at 204-788-8200 or toll-free 1-888-315-9257 to start the screening process
  • All Manitobans, whether they have symptoms or not, should be practicing physical distancing and other precautions:
    • Keep 2 meters/6 feet away from other people
    • Avoid greetings that involve touching
    • Cough or sneeze into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hands
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds

Bulletin #3: March 25, 2020

The health and safety of our clients, staff and volunteers is something we take very seriously at Nine Circles. As COVID-19 continues to impact the world, we want to update you on some program and service changes we are making:

Building Access

Per updated recommendations from Shared Health, the following individuals should NOT visit any health care facilities. Those who have:

    • Returned from travel, including travel within Canada, in the last 14 days, OR
    • Had exposure to a confirmed COVID-19 case within 14 days prior to onset of illness
      (Note: Exposure may include scenarios or settings like: large events with confirmed case(s) of COVID-19.)
    • Had close contact with someone being tested for COVID-19 at this time
    • Been instructed to self-isolate or self-monitor for 14 days
    • Cold or flu-like symptoms (cough, fever, runny nose, sore throat, weakness or headache)
  • If you are not sure if you should come down or not, please call us first. Sometimes our providers can support you over the phone rather than at an in-person visit
  • Nine Circles is not a COVID-19 testing site. If you meet the above criteria, please call Health Links at 204-788-8200 or toll-free 1-888-315-9257 to start the screening process

Drop-in & Appointments

  • We continue to be open for priority appointments, priority drop-in and other scaled back services.
  • Drop-in access to use the phone or washrooms is limited to 10 minutes as we want to reduce the number of people in our waiting room at any given time
  • Outreach staff are greeting people in the front area, opening the doors to the washroom, and sanitizing the phone regularly.
  • Doctors and nurses are assessing each booked appointment and where possible doing phone appointments, Telehealth etc.  Appointments are reduced to approximately 10 minutes and routine appointments are being re-booked.
  • Clients are encouraged to use hand sanitizer upon entering the building.

STI Testing & Treatment

  • We have modified our testing services to meet physical distancing recommendations. Until further notice we are providing reduced availability for STBBI testing and treatment. Please view the full list of changes here.
  • Covid-19 and Sex: Strategies to protect yourself

Supply Distribution

  • We are still distributing safer drug use supplies and naloxone
  • Supplies are pre-bagged
  • We are trying out a different method of service delivery to ensure physical distancing: If you’re coming in for safer drug use or safer sex supplies, connect with reception and wait in the reception area by the Broadway doors (grey chairs). Staff will come out to talk with you and grab what you need.
  • We are asking folks to take more supplies than they may normally take to minimize the number of times you need to come in.

PHA Fund

  • We are still operating the PHA fund. Clients are asked to phone their social worker and do the application over the phone. Responses will be sent out by mail, or people can connect with their social worker for follow up

Food Bank

  • This week we will be moving to a delivery model for food bank to ensure folks can stay in their homes. Please call 204-940-6043 to make a plan if you have not yet spoken to us. Please note, Nine Circles’ Food Bank is for registered Food Bank Members only.
  • Winnipeg Harvest is adjusting their distribution strategy to accommodate volume increases:
    • They will be creating larger, pre-packaged food hampers that they will deliver to community food banks like Nine Circles
    • There will be one hamper every 4 weeks per registered address.
    • The larger hamper is intended to provide support for a 10-14 day period
    • Hampers will include a selection of non-perishable items including Canned Soup, Canned Vegetables, Pasta and Sauce, Dry Lentils, Bouillon cubes, Oatmeal, Rice, Peanut Butter, Canned Meat, Pancake Mix, Crackers, Cookies, and other items as available.
  • Our current delivery schedule (subject to change) is:
    • March 26: L-Z
    • April 2: A-K
    • April 23: L-Z
    • April 30: A-K

Health Promotion

  • We are not doing any education sessions in the community or in-house currently
  • Health Educators are available to do one on one consultations with clients over the phone as needed
  • All groups (including mental health groups) are postponed

Bulletin #2: March 18, 2020

The health and safety of our clients, staff and volunteers is something we take very seriously at Nine Circles. As COVID-19 continues to impact the world, we want to update you on some program and service changes we are making. Here are some updates since Bulletin #1:

  • Food Bank will go ahead tomorrow for A-K clients, but we are switching to appointment based distribution. Please call 204-940-6043 to make a plan if you have not yet spoken to us. Please note, Nine Circles’ Food Bank is for registered Food Bank Members only.
  • Massages, along with all other groups at Nine Circles, will be cancelled until further notice.
  • We continue to offer safer drug use supplies on a drop-in basis
  • The majority of our West Broadway partners have stopped programming/services at this time, including being open for drop-in, in an effort to protect our community and slow the spread of COVID-19. Many have information about their closures on their websites and social media networks.

All other information below remains up to date. Thanks for your patience and understanding as we work through these challenging times.


Bulletin #1: March 16, 2020

The health and safety of our clients, staff and volunteers is something we take very seriously at Nine Circles. As COVID-19 continues to impact the world, we want to update you on some program and service changes we are making. Nine Circles supports folks who are most likely to experience barriers to health care, and therefore, are potentially the most impacted by COVID-19 and the measures taken to slow the spread. At this time, our Board, Management and Staff are working together to balance the health and safety of our community while maintaining important and essential services.  We remain open and our cleaning staff have implemented a new infection prevention protocol in their cleaning of offices, exam rooms and the building as a whole.

We are closely following the updates and recommendations from Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living (MHSAL) and Shared Health, as well as the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). As new information is available and recommendations change, Nine Circles’ plan will adapt. Please be patient with us as we all work to figure out the best way to move forward. We will be updating our website and social media channels as the situation evolves, so please check back often.

If you have questions, please:

Changes to Nine Circles’ Programs & Services

Building Access

  • We are asking that all clients/visitors who meet the following criteria call Health Links at 204-788-8200 or toll-free 1-888-315-9257 to start the screening process:
    • Have traveled internationally within 14 days prior to onset of illness
    • Have come into contact with someone who has or is suspected of having coronavirus
    • Have had close contact with someone with flu-like symptoms who has traveled internationally within 14 days prior to onset of illness
    • Have been exposed to laboratory specimens of people who may have been infected with COVID-19

AND

    • Have signs/symptoms suggestive of coronavirus including cough, fever, sore throat, runny nose, weakness, headache
  • Nine Circles is not a COVID-19 testing site. Health Links will advise you if a test is needed and will make a referral to 1 of the 4 testing sites so they can expect you
  • If you have an appointment and need to cancel please call us at 204-940-6000 to reschedule/make a plan
  • If you are not sure if you should come down or not, please call us first. Sometimes our providers can support you over the phone rather than at an in-person visit
Drop-in
  • Drop in access to use the phone or washrooms will be limited to 10 minutes as we want to reduce the number of people in our waiting room at any given time
Primary Care (Seeing a doctor or nurse)
  • At this time, we will continue to see people for priority appointments, but are scaling back non-urgent/non-priority appointments
  • If you have a doctor or nurse at Nine Circles, expect that your provider will contact you in advance of your appointment to discuss whether you need to come in or if your appointment should be rescheduled.
Allied Care (Seeing a social worker, mental health therapist, dietitian etc.)
  • At this time, we will continue to see people for priority appointments, largely by phone. Some of our providers also have access to Zoom– a video conferencing program. If you have an appointment, expect that your provider will contact you in advance to discuss options or to reschedule if your appointment isn’t urgent.
STI Testing Clinic
  • Our STI clinic is currently short-staffed, so we may not have as many appointments available as usual.
  • Appointments will be limited to current PrEP clients and people who have STI symptoms.
  • STI Drop-in on Wednesdays will remain open for people who have symptoms and those who need treatment. You may be asked to return rather than wait in the waiting room if we are busy.
  • If you are coming for a routine STI screening but do not have STI symptoms, we applaud you for staying on top of your sexual health, but encourage you to wait a few weeks before accessing this service.
Food Bank
  • Food Bank will go ahead, but we are making some changes to how it will operate.
  • Rather than having everyone come in the morning, we will be making efforts to have clients come at staggered times throughout the day.
  • Staff and volunteers will be pre-boxing food for distribution rather than our usual set-up
  • If it’s your week, expect a call from us to discuss the plan, or call us at 204-940-6043
Safer Sex and Safer Drug Use Supply Distribution
  • At this time, we will continue to distribute safer drug use and safer sex supplies.
  • Supplies will be pre-packaged to limit interactions.
  • We encourage folks to take more supplies than you would normally so you need to drop in less frequently.
Groups (Feeling Better, Coffee Talk, Singing & Drumming etc.)
  • At this time, all our group programming has been cancelled until further notice. If you are in need of extra support, you can give us a call to connect with your care provider.

General Information: COVID-19 & Strategies to Reduce Its Spread

Source: gov.mb.ca/covid19

How can I reduce my risk of infection?
  • Good hand hygiene provides significant protection from viral respiratory illnesses.
  • People are encouraged to take common prevention measures, including regular hand washing with soap and warm water for at least 15 seconds. Make sure to dry your hands thoroughly. Or, you can use an alcohol-based hand cleanser if your hands are not visibly dirty.
  • It is especially important to clean your hands:
    • after coughing or sneezing
    • when caring for a sick person
    • before, during and after you prepare food
    • before eating
    • after toilet use
    • when hands are visibly dirty
  • You should also cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, or you can cough or sneeze into your sleeve. Throw used tissues in the garbage and immediately wash your hands, or use an alcohol-based hand cleanser.
  • Avoid close contact (within 2 meters/6 feet) with anyone showing symptoms of a respiratory illness, such as coughing or sneezing.
  • Children and adolescents should avoid sharing food/drinks (e.g. sippy cups and water bottles), musical instruments or other things that have been in a person’s mouth (e.g., soothers).
Social distancing strategies for all Manitobans include:
  • Minimizing prolonged (more than 10 minutes), close (less than 2 meters/6 feet) contact between other individuals in public.
  • Avoiding greetings that involve touching such as handshakes
  • Disinfecting frequently-used surfaces and regular hand washing.
  • Following public health advice related to self-monitoring and self-isolation if you have traveled or been exposed to someone ill with the virus.
  • Considering avoiding travel, crowded places and events, especially if you are at higher risk.

Check this page regularly for updates.

Thank you for your consideration and understanding as we continue to adapt to this situation.