Ford opens door to systemic long-term care home changes

The Canadian Press

TORONTO — Premier Doug Ford is opening the door to systemic changes to the long-term care system in Ontario, as more than 140 residents have died in COVID-19 outbreaks.
Ford says it will be necessary to take a closer look at cracks in the system and this crisis will give the province an opportunity to create higher standards.
Ontario has issued a 14-day emergency order preventing long-term care staff from working at multiple homes.
Health Minister Christine Elliott has acknowledged that some outbreaks in long-term care homes have been the result of staff who work in two or three facilities inadvertently bringing in the virus.
Health-care worker unions have long raised the issue, saying staff often work at multiple facilities because they’re unable to get full-time positions.
Long-Term Care Minister Merrillee Fullerton says Ontario will work with the federal government to address wages for those workers while they are prevented from working at more than one home.
Ontario reported 494 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, including 51 more deaths.
That brings the total cases in the province to 8,447, including 385 deaths and 3,902 cases that have been resolved.
The total number of cases grew by just over six per cent, continuing a relatively low growth trend in recent days. And while there are now 795 people in hospital with COVID-19 in Ontario – 26 more than on Tuesday – the number of people in intensive care and on ventilators dropped slightly.
Meanwhile, the virus continued to spread in long-term care homes, with 98 facilities reporting COVID-19 outbreaks that have killed at least 145 residents.
Some of the hardest-hit facilities include Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon, where 29 residents have died; Eatonville Care Centre in Toronto, where 27 residents have died; Seven Oaks in Toronto, where 22 residents have died; and Almonte Country Haven outside Ottawa, where 18 residents have died.
Testing has been expanded in long-term care homes, which the Ministry of Health says has increased the number of COVID-19 tests under investigation. That number doubled in the past day, to 4,429.
There were just over 6,000 tests completed in the previous day despite a promise by the government to do 8,000 tests a day.