Order Comes Almost Two Months After Ford Declares a General Emergency for Province and After Several Weeks of Disproportionate Numbers of COVID Cases and Deaths in these Homes
Hello Mr. Premier – It is Time to Stop Treating Our Seniors and Those who Care for Them like For-Profit, Human Garbage
A News Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper, followed by a News Release from Ontario’s Ford Government
Posted May 13, 2020 on Niagara At Large
I have been hesitating to post a commentary of praise for Ontario Premier Doug Ford for the way he has been conducting himself since the black clouds of this killer plague arrived in the skies over our province.
As much as I continue to hope that Doug Ford and his Ontario Tories are turfed from power in the next provincial election for their record on cutting and gutting environmental protections alone, I was thinking – in a spirit of fairness – that he might deserve some praise for seeming to push his inner bully boy aside during this terrible health disaster we’re facing and show some genuine support for the public services we need and for those who have been risking their health – people he would normally be crapping on, like teachers, health care workers and others – to provide them.
Yet while Doug Ford sometimes came close to looking Churchillian compared to that wing nut in the White House – even if he didn’t rise to the level of leadership that New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has shown across the border from us, I am glad I have hesitated posting praise for him for a number of reasons, most recently the one I will focus a few minutes on below.
Why in hell has it take some eight weeks after an outbreak of COVId-19 cases in the Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon, Ontario – an outbreak that has resulted in at least 28 deaths to date – and all of the other disproportionate number of infestations and deaths that have occurred in long-term care homes across Ontario – for the Ford government, just this May 13th, to, in its words, “adopt an emergency order” to address the life-and-death crisis in long-term care homes across this province?
Yes I know that the Ford government has, step by tiny step over the past seven or eight weeks, built what it calls “an iron ring of protection” around these places where people place their elderly loved ones with some hope that they will live out what is left of their years in dignity.
But why would you wait so damn long – some three months after the first major COVID outbreak that caused multiple deaths in a nursing home across the Canada-U.S. border in Washington State, and eight weeks after the pillage of life in a home in Bobcaygeon, Ontario – to finally declare war with an emergency order on COVID in long-term care homes in our province?
While I am asking this question, Mr. Premier, I cannot help but think of your old friendship with Mike Harris, the Tory premier (and the worst premier Ontario has ever had, in my books) in the 1990s and early 2000s, who cut and gut resources for health care, including personal support workers, and who moved to privatize as many public services as possible, including long-term care homes.
Harris reportedly remained one of Doug Ford’s close friends and mentors as he continued on with the agenda of cutting and gutting and privatizing so many of the public resources we need – especially at a perilous time like this.
And isn’t it interesting that Mike Harris serves as a director on a board of Chartwell Retirement Residences, one of the largest, if not the largest privately owned and operated chain of long-term care homes in the province.
Last year, before this pandemic was ever a thought in our mind, the number of inspections the Ford government did at long-term care homes across Ontario, according to a report on CBC, totalled about nine. And they were reportedly done only after the operators of those homes were tipped off that the inspectors were coming.
All thanks to a Doug Ford government that placed the interests of privately owned and operated long-term care homes, and of Mike Harris and others representing them, over the health and safety of the seniors living out what is left of their lives in them, and their front-line caregivers.
How fucking disgusting!
(Sorry to those who may not like my use of the ‘F word’.
Yes, I know I have had good people saying to me,; ‘Keep flying high and don’t use that. But think about what is really obscene here.
The F-word is far less obscene than the Tories, going back to to the Mike Harris days, and their enablers in this province who have, for so long, treated our seniors and those on the front lines of caring for them like human garbage so that they could go on enjoying more profits and tax cuts, which is just about all of what’s left of the once decent Ontario Conservative Party of Bill Davis seems to give a damn about.
We’re ‘OPEN FOR BUSINESS’ and to hell with everyone and everything else, from people who don’t fall inside their circle of interest to our environment.)
Now here is the May 13th News Release from the Ford government on the belated “emergency order’ for long-term care homes –
Ontario Takes Steps to Better Protect Long-Term Care Residents and Staff During the COVID-19 Outbreak
From the Office of Ontario’s Premier, May 13th, 2020
TORONTO — The Ontario government has adopted an emergency order allowing the province to issue a mandatory management order for a long-term care home struggling to deal with a COVID-19 outbreak. This 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,” said Premier Doug Ford. “By taking this step, we will be better prepared to immediately swing into action if a home is struggling to contain this deadly virus.”
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. Decisions regarding when and where to assign additional management support will be made on a case-by-case basis.
“We are incredibly grateful to long-term care operators across the province who are working tirelessly each day to contain COVID-19 outbreaks,” said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care. “This is another step we are taking to ensure homes are provided with the support they need at this challenging time to maintain the quality of care our residents deserve.”
On April 15, 2020, the government announced a 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 LTC staff; and enabling the deployment of hospital staff to address staffing shortages and the use of Infection Prevention and Control teams.
In addition, Canadian Armed Forces personnel have been deployed into five long-term care homes to provide support where significant staffing shortages are occurring.
Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.
The COVID-19 Action Plan: Long-Term Care Homes outlines the steps that the government is taking to protect residents and staff in long-term care homes.
For public inquiries, call ServiceOntario at 1-866-532-3161 (toll-free in Ontario only).
For another post on Doug Ford, Mike Harris and long-term care homes, click on – https://spon.ca/mike-harris-expanded-the-privatization-of-long-term-care-doug-ford-is-discovering-that-wasnt-a-magic-cure/2020/05/05/
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