New restrictions require visitors to long-term care homes be fully vaccinated

Dec 14 2021, 9:45 pm

Ontario announced new restrictions for long-term care homes in the province in an effort to protect residents from the Omicron variant.

Effectively immediately, all general visitors to long-term care homes must provide proof of full vaccination to gain entry. This measure also applies to children under the age of 12. The only exemption is for children younger than one.

“Children of all ages who are not fully vaccinated may pose a high risk of bringing the virus into the home, as they may be exposed to the virus in school, daycare and other settings,” a spokesperson with the Ministry of Long-Term Care told Daily Hive in a statement.

In addition, beginning at Friday, December 17, all long-term care home staff, students, volunteers, and caregivers will be tested twice a week, regardless of vaccination status.

Visitors will have to also provide a negative test to enter long-term care homes in the province. Caregivers must be fully vaccinated or have a legitimate medical exemption. Exceptions may be made on compassionate grounds if they are visiting a resident in a palliative care end-of-life situation.

The number of people allowed to visit a resident will also be reduced. For indoor visits, only two visitors will be allowed per resident. If outdoor visits are possible, a maximum of four visitors are allowed.

Social day trips for residents will be limited to fully vaccinated residents. Residents will not be permitted to take overnight trips unless they are temporarily discharged and follow re-admission protocol.

According to a press release from the provincial government, 83% of eligible long-term care residents have received three doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore told reporters that he is most concerned about the people who are most vulnerable to COVID-19.

“Strengthening public health measures in our long term care homes and retirement homes is critical to protecting our most vulnerable from the Omicron variant,” he said.

Dr. Moore told reporters that he will be presenting the provincial government with additional recommendations to curb the spread of COVID-19. He said that an announcement on new restrictions may be coming later this week.

Brooke TaylorBrooke Taylor

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