Ontario Increases Protection in Waterloo Region Long-Term Care HomesPublished on January 25, 2021
New investment strengthens measures to prevent COVID-19 from entering 22 homes
January 25, 2021
Waterloo Region — Today, Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Mike Harris and Kitchener South-Hespeler MPP Amy Fee announced the Ontario government is investing an additional $7,456,700 to increase prevention and containment efforts in long-term care homes in Waterloo Region during the second wave of COVID-19.
The new funding will reduce the risk of the virus from entering long-term care homes from the community by covering eligible expenses related to:
- An immediate 24/7 health checkpoint to confirm staff and essential caregivers entering the building are properly screened for COVID-19 symptoms and potential exposure, and to continue screening residents on an ongoing basis to support early detection and containment of any new infections;
- Additional prevention and containment activities, such as hiring new staff to carry-out the added workload for essential services and/or to replace workers who are sick or in isolation;
- Cleaning, equipment, and operating supplies beyond typical levels for the home; and
- Implementing infection control measures based on clinical evidence, advice from a physician or other regulated health practitioners with expertise in infection control.
“Today our government is making investments in 22 Long Term Care homes in Waterloo Region,” said Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Mike Harris and Kitchener South-Hespeler MPP Amy Fee. “This $7.4 million will enhance measures so that health care workers can better detect and contain outbreaks in long-term care homes, helping ensure the health and well-being of residents across the region.”
Since the start of the pandemic, the Ontario government has invested $1.38 billion to ensure that our long-term care homes have the resources they need to battle COVID-19.
“We will continue to do everything we can to help stop the spread of this virus and protect our most vulnerable and the staff who have been working tirelessly to keep them safe,” said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care. “From the start of the pandemic, we have taken quick and decisive action to make sure that homes have access to the resources they need to care for our loved ones.”
Once an outbreak is declared in a home, the province continues to work alongside local public health units, hospital partners, the local health integration networks and all health sector partners to help stabilize the situation and return the home to normal operations.
To address long-standing staffing challenges, the government has launched one of the largest recruitment and training drives in the province’s history, to deliver on its commitment to provide an average of four hours of daily direct care for residents. This will make Ontario the Canadian leader in the provision of care. To implement its staffing plan, Ontario is increasing annual investments, culminating in $1.9 billion contributed annually by 2024-25, to create more than 27,000 new positions for personal support workers, registered nurses and registered practical nurses in long-term care.
- During the second wave, the province has enhanced testing requirements for long-term care homes, and deployed rapid tests through a proof-of-concept program, recognizing the importance of identifying a case of the virus before it can spread from the community into a long-term care home.
- The province’s vaccine strategy prioritizes the most vulnerable populations first, including health care workers and residents of long-term care homes, who are at higher risk of contracting the virus. The government has committed that the residents and staff in all long-term care homes in Ontario will be vaccinated by February 15, 2021 if they want to be vaccinated.
- To address urgent staffing challenges in long-term care homes, hospitals have deployed rapid response teams of health care professionals. Additionally, the Ontario Workforce Reserve for Senior Support program is recruiting Resident Support Aides. The province has also put in place a Personal Support Worker Return of Service program and is fast tracking Personal Support Worker education and providing supports for new nursing graduates. Community paramedics have also assisted in homes, providing care and help with testing.
Visit Ontario's website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.