TORONTO – COVID-19 — “We are doing everything we can to fortify the iron ring of protection around our long-term care residents and the heroic frontline staff who care for them,” says Ontario Premier Doug Ford. “By taking this step, we will be better prepared to immediately swing into action if a home is struggling to contain this deadly virus.”
The Ontario government has adopted an emergency order allowing the province to issue a mandatory management order for a long-term care home struggling to deal with a COVID-19 outbreak. The Premier has promised that the government will be looking into long-term care homes following the COVID-19 pandemic but has not said, as the opposition New Democrats have asked for a public inquiry.
This provincial order would support the use of rapid, immediate and effective management alternatives to protect residents and staff within a home. The manager could be any person, including a corporation or a hospital.
A long-term care home may require management assistance if they face challenges like a high number of cases among residents or staff, a high number of deaths, an outbreak that has not yet been resolved, significant staffing issues or outstanding requirements from infection prevention and control assessments. Decisions regarding when and where to assign additional management support will be made on a case-by-case basis.
“We are incredibly grateful to long-term care operators across the province who are working tirelessly each day to contain COVID-19 outbreaks,” said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care. “This is another step we are taking to ensure homes are provided with the support they need at this challenging time to maintain the quality of care our residents deserve.”
On April 15, 2020, the government announced a COVID-19 Action Plan for Long-Term Care Homes to help prevent the spread of the virus by focusing on additional testing, containment, addressing staffing challenges and securing personal protective equipment.
The province also adopted several emergency orders restricting the movement of staff between multiple homes; enabling the implementation of pandemic premium pay for LTC staff; and enabling the deployment of hospital staff to address staffing shortages and the use of Infection Prevention and Control teams.
In addition, Canadian Armed Forces personnel have been deployed into five long-term care homes to provide support where significant staffing shortages are occurring.