OTTAWA -- A new centre for Ottawa’s homeless population to self-isolate during the COVID-19 pandemic will open on Monday in Lowertown.

The first of its kind in the city, the Routhier Community Centre will house vulnerable people who would otherwise have nowhere else to go to safely be in isolation.

“This will be the self-isolation facility for people from the homeless community that do, or are thought to have, COVID-19,” said Wendy Muckle, executive director of Ottawa Inner City Health.

“We’re expecting to have a mix of people who are very ill, and people who are recovering and really just need to self-isolate until they’re no longer infectious.”

The centre will be taking in people in hospital who have been tested, but who need a place to go, Muckle said.

It has 10 beds, but will eventually have a capacity of 40. It’s divided into several rooms, including separate rooms for women and men to sleep.

There’s a common area where people will be mandated to stay two metres apart.

Front-line and client care workers will be onsite to care for the people at the centre.

The treatment operation will be led by a 24-hour nursing team, along with physicians led by Dr. Jeff Turnbull, who’s renowned for his work caring for the city’s homeless population.

Mayor Jim Watson toured the centre on Saturday with officials from the city’s newly-formed human needs task force.

Ottawa Inner City Health also has a mobile unit that has been visiting shelters and other spots around the city since Tuesday, to help identify people in the city’s homeless population who could have COVID-19 symptoms.