The main focus provincially continues to be on long-term care.
The province launched the COVID-19 Action Plan: Long-Term Care Homes adding new measures to prevent further outbreaks and deaths from COVID-19 in long-term care homes. Please find the details below.
A CBC investigation released today found that under the Ford government, inspections at long-term care homes were scaled back. Only nine of Ontario’s 626 homes got a full proper inspection, the so-called resident quality inspections (RQIs), which are the detailed unannounced inspections.
As I shared yesterday, Premier Ford announced a new rule intended to limit staff who work at long-term care facilities to work at just one home. However, we learned today that the regulation contains a giant loophole – allowing temp agency LTC workers to continue working at multiple locations. This is troubling because workers from temp agencies make up a significant part of long-term care staffing. We cannot waste any more time and we cannot leave huge loopholes open.
As well government guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health says that workers who tested positive for COVID-19, but are not symptomatic, “may return to work if remain asymptomatic 72 hours from test and continue with appropriate PPE at work…”
My colleagues and I have called on the government to eliminate the loophole and fix the guidelines allowing health care workers who have the COVID-19 virus to return to work with the most vulnerable Ontarians as it flies in the face of what we know about the virus — that it spreads whether you have symptoms or not.
Problems in long-term care facilities were not created overnight. It is the result of years of underfunding and neglect. The sad truth is that seniors in too many long-term care homes haven’t been getting the care they need or the attention they deserve. A big lesson from the pandemic is that we cannot wait any longer to fix our long-term care system.
Finally, tomorrow is April 16, which could mean eviction day for small businesses that were unable to pay April’s rent as landlords are entitled to lockout commercial tenants. While there is a moratorium on residential evictions, there is no such restriction on evicting commercial tenants. If you are a small business and you get locked out, please contact me immediately. I will continue to work with local BIAs and push for action on Save Main Street proposal. Also, please find below some ways you can continue to support our local businesses.
Wash your hands. Stay home (except if you must work). Be kind. We are all in this together.