Premier Doug Ford announced a new emergency order mandating that healthcare employees at long-term care homes work at only one facility, effective Tuesday at midnight, in order to prevent in the spread of COVID-19 in vulnerable populations.
“Tonight, a new emergency order will be put into effect so long-term care home workers can only work at one home,” Ford said at a press conference on Tuesday.
The premier said that hospitals have not seen the surge of patients that was expected, therefore allowing resources from hospitals to be reallocated to senior care facilities.
Around $240 million will be reallocated to support long-term care homes that are experiencing increased outbreaks of the virus across Ontario — 93 homes have outbreaks to date.
The additional funding will increase staffing and cover the cost of adding hours for part-time staff. It will also go towards improved testing, new infection control measures, and providing more infection specialists for all homes.
Ford added that new personal protective equipment (PPE) will be provided within 24 hours for any long-term care home that is needed.
“My friends, the sad truth is our long-term care homes are quickly turning into the front line of the fight to stop this virus,” the premier said.
“We’re dealing with a wildfire at our long term care homes right now. It is extremely difficult on people and families who are losing loved ones. People are dying, my heart breaks for those who have lost their loved ones.”
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On Monday, Ontario announced an increase in medical supplies for healthcare workers with 13 million surgical masks, 200,000 N95 respirator masks, and 38 ventilators delivered to the province over the last five days.
On April 11, Ford said more than 14,000 businesses submitted applications to the Ontario Together portal that asks citizens and businesses to donate or produce supplies to help stop the spread of the virus.
The $50 million Ontario Together Fund was also created to help businesses provide innovative solutions to manufacture essential medical supplies and equipment, including gowns, coveralls, masks, face shields, testing equipment, and ventilators.