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Newmarket invited to virtual rally to fix COVID-19 ravaged long-term care

Posted: May 2, 2020

(May 1, 2020)

By: Kim Champion, NewmarketToday

20200501 day of action for ltc

The Ontario Health Coalition, with support of the Ontario Federation of Labour, calls for a day of action today, May 1, 2020, to press the Ontario government for concrete measures to fix long-term care. Supplied photo/Ontario Health Coalition

A day of action gets underway today, May 1 at 12 p.m. to rally for the residents and workers of long-term care facilities that have been ravaged by COVID-19.

The Ontario Health Coalition, with the support of the Ontario Federal of Labour, called for the virtual rally that will take place as a Facebook event beginning at noon and running until 11:30 p.m.

Organizers have appealed to the Ontario government to immediately improve access to personal protective equipment, permanently improved wages and working conditions for staff such as personal support workers, a four-hour minimum care standard, better infection control, and the elimination of for-profit long-term care.

“Workers need the protection of N-95 respirators or better, not just surgical masks. They need gloves, face shields, gowns and other protections,” Ontario Federation of Labour president Patty Coates said. “These should not be rationed, nor should disposable respirators be reused because doing so contributes to the increase in the number of health care workers suffering from COVID-19.”

“Personal support workers play a vital role in keeping Ontarians healthy and safe. It’s time that the province regulates the long-term care industry to protect residents, workers, and all Ontarians,” she added.

Coalition spokesperson Natalie Mehra said her organization is hearing from all corners of Ontario and, while measures recently taken by the provincial government are welcome and appreciated, there still remains a dangerous disconnect between what Premier Doug Ford said he is going to do, and the actual policy measures that are put in place.

“In calling for concrete improvements, the coalition does not want to take away from what has been done, particularly (with regard) to improved testing, access to personal protective equipment, the very significant $4-hour wage increase, some measures to help increase staffing on a temporary and sporadic basis, improved isolation in some homes, and safer requirements regarding admissions and readmissions.” Mehra said in a statement.

“Still, there are significant problems and concrete measures that remain to be done that would help to stop the spread and stabilize long-term care, and the coalition is calling for real commitments from the Ford government on these concrete issues,” she added.

The toll of COVID-19 outbreaks in York Region’s long-term care residences rose again yesterday, April 30, with the deaths of one Newmarket resident and four Aurora residents being reported.

A 79-year-old man passed away at Mackenzie Place Long-term Care Home in Newmarket on Tuesday, April 28, after testing positive for COVID-19 on the day symptoms appeared on April 18.

He is the seventh resident to die at the Revera facility on George Street, which has one of the most serious of 40 institutional outbreaks in the York Region with 57 residents and 19 staff confirmed with COVID-19.

Institutional outbreaks account for 65 per cent of Newmarket’s now 139 cases.

Here’s how you can get involved in the day of action to fix long-term care:

  • Visit the day of action event today, May 1 anytime between 12 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.
  • Add a post with your photo to the discussion tab on the Facebook event with a comment and use the hashtag #FixLTCFord.
  • Individual photos will be posted on Facebook feeds, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #FixLTCFord.
  • Also post the photo on your own Facebook page as well with the hashtag #FixLTCFord.
  • If you’re a Twitter user, tweet your photo using the hashtag #FixLTCFord and tag @fordnation.
  • You can also post to Instagram using the hashtag #FixLTCFord.
  • Don’t forget to include the hashtag in all your posts #FixLTCFord so that the coalition can count you as joining the day of action.
  • Not sure how to share your photo on social media? Email it to ohc@sympatico.ca with a comment and it will be shared for you.

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