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CALL TO ACTION: Stop the Spread of COVID-19 in Long-Term Care

Posted: April 14, 2020

Long-term care deaths from COVID-19 now account for almost half of all of Ontario’s deceased. The numbers of staff and residents who have tested positive is escalating at a devastating pace. Following an emergency meeting of the Ontario Health Coalition long-term care committee including family councils, unions, health professionals, seniors’ advocates and experts on long-term care, the Ontario Health Coalition is calling for more aggressive concrete measures to be implemented immediately. 

The Coalition is deeply concerned that the new measures released by the Ontario government regarding testing, isolation, equipment and staffing are not enough to stop the spread of COVID-19. There are very few measures in Ontario that concretely support the workforce that has held the system together through crisis-level staffing shortages prior to COVID-19 and now with even more critical shortages as the virus spreads through the homes with devastating speed. In fact the deregulation of existing staffing standards and introduction of lower paid, contracted and untrained staff is not safe and is contrary to what the Coalition has been calling for to stabilize the workforce. After years of chronic underfunding and deregulation, the situation is now desperate.

 To put the spread of COVID-19 in Ontario’s long-term care homes in perspective: 

Provincial data as of April 14, 2020 shows that almost half of the total number of COVID-19-related deaths in Ontario have been in long-term care homes, though residents in these facilities account for only half of one percent of the provincial population.

The Ontario Health Coalition is urgently calling for improved action. We are asking you to join in calling for Ford government to immediately implement: 

  • the testing of all staff, volunteers and residents, not just some of them
  • support for the workforce including full-time wages, improved wages and working conditions, and opportunities for full-time hours so that they can make a decent living and be protected while doing their work that is so vital for residents
  • the most robust support possible to recruit trained staff and stabilize the workforce, not just bring in volunteers and untrained staff, and 
  • a better plan to support isolating those who test positive and protecting others while providing the care they need.

COVID-19 has laid bare the injustice of understaffing, poor wages, working conditions for long-term care staff, and the inadequate care for residents living in the homes. The measures needed to protect them and improve their conditions must be put in place for the emergency and for after the emergency is over. 

To send a message to tell the Ontario government to protect long-term care homes from deadly outbreaks of COVID-19, please fill the form below.

 To read our response to the new Directive/Guidelines, please click here.

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