The Government of Ontario has adopted an emergency order that will allow it to appoint a manager to oversee the response to COVID-19 at long-term care homes struggling to contain an outbreak.
According to the province, the 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.
“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,” Premier Doug Ford said in a statement.
“By taking this step, we will be better prepared to immediately swing into action if a home is struggling to contain this deadly virus.”
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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, according to the province.
Decisions regarding when and where to assign additional management support will be made on a case-by-case basis.
As of May 12, the Public Health Ontario Daily Epidemiologic Summary (iPHIS) reports 249 outbreaks out of the 626 long-term care homes in Ontario.
And, there have been 812 reported deaths, which account for almost half of the COVID-19 related deaths in the province, which is 1,725.
On April 15, 2020, the government announced its 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 long-term care staff; and enabling the deployment of hospital staff to address staffing shortages and the use of Infection Prevention and Control teams.
In addition, around 265 Canadian Armed Forces personnel have been deployed into five long-term care homes to provide support where significant staffing shortages are occurring.