Premier Doug Ford says that starting Monday, visitors will be restricted to some long-term care homes in regions that have been hit particularly hard by COVID-19.
Visitors will be restricted to staff, essential visitors and caregivers only.
“As we find ourselves in this new wave, our government must continue to make tough but necessary decisions to protect our seniors,” Ford said today about the changes.
“We’re looking at the highest-risk regions. The areas with high community spread. My friends, this is not something that we take lightly. We can’t let COVID-19 get into these homes.”
Ford says the government has made it possible for family to enter homes as caregivers, urging more people to sign up to help multiple residents at these long-term care facilities.
“We have close to 78,000 residents in long-term care right now. We have 78 active cases of COVID-19. That’s 78 too many,” Ford added.
“The additional support is going to make a difference. As we saw the first outbreak, we made tremendous measures and we brought the cases right down. We aren’t sparing any expense and on top of that, we are revamping the ventilation across the homes.”
The Ontario government says it will invest close to $540 million to protect residents, caregivers, and staff in long-term care homes from future surges and waves of COVID-19.
The funding is part of the province’s COVID-19 fall preparedness plan.
The new investments include:
- $405 million to help homes with operating pressures related to COVID-19, including infection prevention and containment measures, staffing supports, and purchasing additional supplies and PPE.
- $40 million to support homes that have been impacted by the changes in occupancy numbers due to COVID-19.
- $30 million to allow long-term care homes to hire more infection prevention and c ontrol staffing, including $20 million for additional personnel and $10 million to fund training for new and existing staff.
- $20 million for additional personnel and $10 million to fund training for new and existing staff. This new funding will enable homes to hire over 150 new staff.
- $2.8 million to extend the High Wage Transition Fund to ensure that gaps in long-term care staffing can continue to be addressed during the pandemic.
- Provide all long-term care homes with access to up to eight weeks of supply of PPE so they are prepared in case of outbreaks. This supply will be available starting the week of October 5, 2020.
Ontario is reporting 554 cases of new infections on Tuesday. There are 251 new cases in Toronto with 106 in Ottawa, 79 in Peel and 43 in York Region.
62 per cent of today’s cases are in people under the age of 40.