Ottawa, April 21, 2020: Kids Come First Health Team has opened Ottawa’s first COVID-19  isolation centre for youth. The Youth Services Bureau (YSB) and CHEO, both partners in Kids Come First, have created a safe place for youth to be cared for by youth workers and medical professionals. Vulnerable individuals, aged 16-21, including those who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness, and those who do not have the space to self-isolate, will be able to recover or await test results at this site.

This youth isolation centre will offer youth a space to heal while being closely monitored by health professionals, and will ensure that the virus is not spread to other members of the community. Thanks to this site, we will be able to mitigate the demand on our hospitals during the pandemic.

YSB has been working in collaboration with Ottawa Inner City Health and Ottawa Public Health (OPH) to ensure that its frontline workers working in youth homelessness and youth justice are able to access quick testing as needed. OPH is also a Kids Come First member.

  • “We are very lucky so far that no staff or youth have tested positive for COVID-19. However, we are ready for any eventuality, and we will spring into action if the time comes.” Joanne Lowe, Executive Director of the YSB and Vice-President, Mental Health and Addictions of CHEO
  • “Helping families, kids, and youth affected by COVID-19 is core to the work of Kids Come First and CHEO. Creating a safe and welcoming space for vulnerable youth in this time of uncertainty is just one example of how we can come together as a community to make lives better.” Alex Munter, President and CEO, CHEO
  • “As a partner of the Kids Come First Health team, Ottawa Public Health is proud to support the opening of the first COVID-19 isolation centre for youth. This important new initiative will provide a safe space for vulnerable youth in our community to self-isolate, recover or await test results while receiving the care they need.” Vera Etches, Medical Officer of Health.

Youth feeling anxious or stressed while in the isolation centre will be able to access YSB’s youth and family counselors by phone or videoconference.

Background notes

  • The Kids Come First Youth Isolation Centre is located at one of YSB’s sites. It will not be used for anything else during this time.
  • The centre has eight separate bedrooms.
  • Homeless youth from across Ottawa can access the centre; it’s expected that most of them will come from YSB’s youth shelters.
  • In addition to youth who have tested positive, the site will also take in youth who are awaiting test results, and are required to self-isolate.


Suzanne Fraser, Youth Services Bureau, 613-277-7103


About Kids Come First Health Team

Kids Come First includes 61 partner organizations, 1,089 physicians, and 2,535 individuals who are committed to making child and youth health services easier to obtain; helping eastern Ontario’s Ontario Health Teams provide care to children and youth; and to supporting physicians and clinical leaders who provide care to children, youth and families.  Our initial priority populations include: children and youth with mental health and addictions as well as those with medically complex needs.

About the Youth Services Bureau
YSB is one of the largest and most comprehensive non-profit agencies serving youth in Ottawa. It offers more than 30 programs and serves 3,000 youth and families every month in the areas of youth engagement, housing and homelessness, mental health, youth justice and employment.

About CHEO
Dedicated to the best life for every child and youth, CHEO is a global leader in pediatric health care and research. Based in Ottawa, CHEO includes a hospital, children’s treatment centre, school and research institute, with satellite services located throughout Eastern Ontario. CHEO provides excellence in complex pediatric care, research and education. We are committed to partnering with families and the community to provide exceptional care — where, when and how it’s needed. CHEO is a founding member of Kids Health Alliance, a network of partners working to create a high quality, standardized and coordinated approach to pediatric health care that is centred around children, youth and their families. Every year, CHEO helps more than 500,000 children and youth from Eastern Ontario, western Quebec, Nunavut and Northern Ontario.

Start typing and press Enter to search