The province has unveiled its plans to protect residents and staff of long-term care homes. Premier Doug Ford says COVID-19 Action Plan: Long-Term Care Homes is a three-point action plan that will be put in place within hours.
“We will do everything we can to protect our seniors and most vulnerable citizens because we all know they are most at risk during this pandemic,” said Ford. “Our three-point action plan builds on the measures we have already taken to fortify that iron ring of protection we have placed around our long-term care residents and those who care for them.”
The adds critical new measures to prevent further outbreaks and deaths from COVID-19 in long-term care homes, including:
- Aggressive Testing, Screening, and Surveillance: enhancing testing for symptomatic residents and staff and those who have been in contact with persons confirmed to have COVID-19; expanding screening to include more asymptomatic contacts of confirmed cases, and leveraging surveillance tools to enable care providers to move proactively against the disease.
- Managing Outbreaks and Spread of the Disease: supporting long-term care homes with public health and infection control expertise to contain and prevent outbreaks; providing additional training and support for current staff working in outbreak conditions.
- Growing our Heroic Long-Term Care Workforce: redeploying staff from hospitals and home and community care to support the long-term care home workforce and respond to outbreaks, alongside intensive on-going recruitment initiatives.
Within less than 48 hours, the government will immediately act to deliver:
- enhanced testing and surveillance for symptomatic residents and staff and those in contact with persons confirmed to have COVID-19;
- testing of asymptomatic residents and staff in select homes across the province to better understand how COVID-19 is spreading;
- risk and capacity assessments for all homes;
- working with Ontario Health, the Ontario Hospital Association, and public health units to assemble infection control and preventions teams and additional supports;
- enhanced guidance on personal protective equipment and continued priority distribution to homes;
- enhanced training and education to support staff working in outbreak situations; and
- redeploying hospital and home care resources into homes.
Yesterday the province issued an emergency order that frontline healthcare workers only work at one long-term care home at a time.