New COVID-19 Precautions at Long-Term Care Homes


New COVID-19 Precautions at Long-Term Care Homes

Ontario adding visitor restrictions to protect residents and staff

October 5, 2020

Long-Term Care

TORONTO — The Ontario government is taking new precautions to protect residents and staff in the province’s long-term care homes.

“The second wave of COVID-19 is hitting some parts of Ontario harder than others,” said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care. “We’re making changes to keep people living and working in long-term care homes safe, wherever they are in the province.”

The province has updated its visitor policy to address areas where there is higher community spread of COVID-19. Starting Wednesday, October 7, 2020, general visitors will not be allowed in long-term care homes in the following communities. Only essential visitors, including up to one caregiver per resident, will be allowed to visit. If the home is experiencing an outbreak of COVID-19 the local public health unit will provide direction on further visitor restrictions and other measures.

As of today, these are the communities where the visitor restrictions will apply:

  • City of Ottawa
  • Region of Peel
  • City of Toronto

A complete list of homes affected has been posted online. The province will update the list as the areas with higher community spread change. People planning a visit to a long-term care home are advised to contact the home in advance, to make sure the home is free of outbreaks and to get information on the home’s visitor policy and any restrictions.

Direction on safety in long-term care homes will continue to be updated as Ontario’s experience with COVID-19 evolves. The government will continue to make every effort to support the safety and emotional wellbeing of residents and the staff who care for them.

Quick Facts

  • Caregivers are essential visitors who provide direct care to residents, such as helping with feeding, mobility, hygiene, or cognitive stimulation. They can be family members or friends, privately hired caregivers, paid companions and/or translators. Each resident and/or their substitute decision maker may designate a maximum of two caregivers. However, only one caregiver at a time may visit a home in an area with higher community spread.
  • Changes to visitor policies for retirement homes will be released in the coming days.
  • All visitors to long-term care homes are required to follow public health measures (e.g., active screening, physical distancing, hand hygiene, masking for source control) during their visits.
  • Caregivers must attest to having a negative COVID-19 test within the previous fourteen days, without a subsequent positive test.
  • All visitors must wear surgical/procedure masks inside long-term care homes. Essential visitors are also required to wear additional personal protective equipment for interactions with residents who are self-isolating, suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19.

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