News from Ontario’s Ford Government
Posted October 1st, 2021 on Niagara At Large
TORONTO — As part of the government’s plan to protect long-term care residents and staff during the Delta-driven fourth wave, Ontario is taking further action with an additional suite of tools.
This includes making COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for all in-home staff, support workers, students, and volunteers by November 15, 2021, unless a staff member has a valid medical exemption, as well as expanded inspections of homes and redirecting provincial resources to enhance and audit existing testing in homes.
“We know that long-term care residents have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. As new variants continue to spread, we are seeing a growing number of outbreaks in long-term care homes where the risk to those most vulnerable remains high,” said Rod Phillips, Minister of Long-Term Care.
“This enhanced suite of measures, including mandatory vaccinations for those working in the homes of long-term care residents, is one more way we will provide them the greatest level of protection possible.”
Vaccination rates of staff in many homes are not high enough in the face of the risk posed by the Delta variant, and this is putting vulnerable residents at risk.
To ensure the health and safety of staff and residents, mandating vaccination for in-home staff has now become essential, and homes are now required to meet the following requirements:
* Staff, support workers, students, and volunteers will have until November 15th, 2021 to show proof that they have received all required doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, or to show proof of a valid medical exemption.
* Staff who do not have all required doses or a valid medical exemption by the deadline will not be able to enter a long-term care home to work.
* Newly hired staff will be required to be fully vaccinated before they begin working in a home unless they have a valid medical exemption.
* Homes will begin randomly testing fully vaccinated individuals, including staff, caregivers and visitors, to help detect possible breakthrough cases of COVID-19 as early as possible.
In addition to adding randomized testing of vaccinated individuals, homes will continue to regularly test individuals who are not fully vaccinated. The ministry will leverage provincial testing resources to inspect and audit these results by sending testing teams into homes to validate the results that homes have been reporting to the province. The ministry will also step up rigorous inspections of homes’ infection, prevention and control measures.
Fully vaccinated staff will continue to be able to work in more than one long-term care home, retirement home or other health service provider setting.
Homes will continue to be required to track and report on the implementation of their policies, including overall staff immunization rates. To promote transparency, the Ministry of Long-Term Care is publicly posting long-term care home staff vaccination rates
Now Here is a Response to this Announcement from the Ontario Liberal Party –
Ontario Liberals would have mandated the vaccine in all vulnerable settings months ago.
Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca Responds To Long-Term Care Vaccine Mandate
TORONTO – Ontario Liberal Leader, Steven Del Duca issued the following statement:
“I’m relieved to hear Ontario will mandate vaccinations for staff in nursing homes, but I cannot understand why it took so long and why the mandate doesn’t apply to all health care settings.
These mandates should be immediately extended to all types of elderly and home care, as well as hospitals and schools.
Twenty seven residents of Ontario long-term care facilities have died since we began calling for mandatory vaccinations. Nineteen long-term care homes are in outbreak right now. Forty three staff members are currently infected.
Doug Ford and Rod Phillips delayed this life saving action that would have protected our loved ones in nursing homes. Our most vulnerable seniors, who received their vaccinations first and may have waning immunity, have been put at risk throughout the fourth wave because of Doug Ford’s failure to act sooner.
Strong leadership means taking decisive action to protect people. Ontario Liberals would have mandated the vaccine in all vulnerable settings months ago.”
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