Premier Doug Ford opened his daily remarks by providing another update on what his government has done to date in response to the public health crisis that has been unfolding in long-term care homes in Ontario. He announced that he is extending the mandate of the special long-term care table responsible for dealing with staffing, infection and resource management during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Incident Management System (IMS) Mandate Extended
The Government of Ontario is extending the mandate of the Incident Management System Long-Term Care Table that is responsible for co-ordinating operational support to long-term care homes. The table will be able to drive immediate decisions and resource deployment for urgent issues facing the sector, including controlling outbreaks, infection prevention and control assessments, testing and appropriate staffing levels and helping homes access personal protective equipment (PPE).
Hospitals Appointed to Support Long-term Care
The Premier and his Ministers also released a full list of all hospitals responsible for managing the impacted long-term care homes mentioned in the report released by the Canadian Armed Forces. Among them will be Trillium Health Partners managing Camilla Care, Unity Health Toronto managing Eatonville Care, North York General managing Hawthorne Place and Scarborough General managing Altamont.
You can read the full release here.
In-Person LTC Inspections to Resume
For the first time, the Premier acknowledged that unionized long-term care home inspectors had refused to enter care facilities at the height of the COVID-19 outbreak. Noting that he understood their concerns — “I get it. They were scared. This was the peak of the peak of COVID and they were nervous about their families,” Ford said — he was also taking the brunt of the decision. “I’ve been taking bullets every day for the union,” the Premier said. Ford then credited OPSEU President Smokey Thomas for helping get inspectors back into the long-term care homes to resume in-person inspections.
To date, the five homes that received military support have undergone 45 inspections since June 2018. Many of these were critical incident or complaints based, with some getting quality inspections. Inspections are now scheduled to occur at all 19 homes in the “red” risk category.